St. Michael Catholic

 / Library


Terry White, Tom Wilson / + VG Architects

St. Michael Catholic
The library was created in the heritage building out of a pre-existing auditorium. The large room has a reading and a tech area. 16’ ceilings and the walls to the new classrooms dematerialize into glass, allowing natural light throughout – giving a physical representation of openness and thinking beyond the walls.

It is a robust and reimagined learning commons which supports a marketplace of ideas.

Original auditorium reimagined into essential learning commons.

Terry White, Partner and Tom Wilson, Associate Partner

One of the most valued community spaces has always been the library. We wanted the library to suit today’s need for flexibility in use and programming. It is a robust and reimagined learning commons which supports a marketplace of ideas. We positioned the library in the middle of what was a second floor auditorium. In the 1960s, the space was subdivided into 8 classrooms with a t-bar ceiling; hiding beautifully crafted 16ft ceilings that we miraculously found to be in good shape. It is now an inspiring place that it is literally the heart and soul of the building and demonstrates how learning is valued here.

The library has the main North South corridor running through its interior connecting to the classrooms to the north and south ends of the floor plan, with heritage windows to the East and West. The implied corridor is widened and articulated within the library space, using book stacks that organize the learning commons to one side and the Information Technology learning centre to the other.  Conceptually, the integrated library corridor supports the notion of this as a convivial learning environment. It is a bustling, vibrant space.

The remaining space of the auditorium was converted into 4 new classrooms.  In order for the integrity of the heritage auditorium to be visually preserved, the new classroom interior walls required special attention.  They were designed to de-materialize to glass above the 8’ horizon line so that the original ornate plaster remained visible to everyone in the library and everyone in each of the 4 classrooms – a visual representation of imagination opening up beyond the classroom walls.

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