London Public Library, Central Branch
Located at 251 Dundas Street, the London Public Library purchased the former Hudson’s Bay Company department store looking to bring a more central and economical public space. After years of use, the Library required an upgrade to its building, selecting NSA to represent them on this high-profile project.
The Central Revitalization and its extensive overhaul turned a heavily used infrastructure into a stunning location for new experiences, a place for much needed program services, and a domain for technology accessibility. Maintaining the basic clarity of a library while preserving a space familiar to the public became imperative to the vision of renewed programming.
The renovated library includes 15,000 sqft of renewed program spaces throughout, as well as meeting rooms and reconfigured reading and maker spaces. The main entrance and circulation areas were reorganized for more efficient flow and access, as well as new signage and planned wayfinding. Building additions also include: a renewed Children’s Library, a café transformation, and a space for the CBC Radio London studio.
Another significant design feature includes new stairs for patrons to travel between floors. Replacing the outdated escalators, the ethereal stairway renewed the role of the central atrium; providing inherent wayfinding while unifying Library spaces to promote flow to the upper floors.
The Library perseveres to contribute to the rich culture and diversity of the downtown core, prioritizing that its space is free to all Londoners. Its plentiful services and unique programs coax out-of-town visitors and in turn, supports London tourism. Due to the excellent location, Central Library users, guests, and staff, help boost the downtown economy through their spending at the nearby shops and restaurants. These characteristics were essential to translate into the design and improvement of the new location and has continued to do so.