Built in the heart of Surrey’s emerging downtown core, the new City Centre Library is set to open its doors to the public this Tuesday. The first major public investment in the area since the redevelopment of Holland Park in 2006, the new library is both an architectural wonder and a civic anchor for the changing neighbourhood.
Built under the federal and provincial stimulus programs, the library faced an expedited construction schedule. To meet the tight deadline for completion, the building’s architects from Bing Thom used social media to engage citizens in the design process. In collaboration with library staff, BTA asked locals to send in pictures of their favourite libraries on Flickr. A local blog showcased the building through its construction. These successful initiatives led Surrey Libraries to embrace the new mediums – they know have an active Twitter account and Facebook page.
The four-storey grey and glass building features undulating curves that hug the street. Evoking a nautical theme on the outside, the library looks like a modern art gallery on the inside. Coated with white walls to boost indoor lighting, the floors of the library gently slope around a grand central atrium. The LEED-certified building is specially designed to avoid absorbing direct sunlight, which allows it to reduce cooling costs, and also features the City’s first green roof.
Spanning 77,000 sq. ft., three times larger than the City’s former main library in Guildford, this branch is more community centre than traditional book warehouse. With a fireplace, study rooms, a coffee shop, children’s area, teen lounge, SFU Continuing Education classrooms, community meeting rooms, and more, the space is designed for people over books. Over 80 computers will be available to the public, as well as free wireless internet for those with laptops or tablets.
The City Centre Library opens it doors to the public with a soft launch today (Tuesday, September 6th at 9:30am). A Grand Opening will follow on Saturday, September 24th from 11:00am to 3:00pm.
This post was contributed to Miss604.com by Paul Hillsdon. Paul is the chief editor of Civic Surrey, a local blog charting the maturation of BC’s second largest city. Follow @PaulHillsdon on Twitter for his updates.