The crafting of this project was compelling – from the site planning, through the programming, right down to the execution of the details. The building has a variety of beautifully lit and welcoming spaces, in keeping with the new role that libraries play as community living rooms. This is also a very high-performance building – an impressive achievement altogether.
The 5,000 m² Bibliotheque du Boise is located between the busy Boulevard Thimens and Marcel-Laurin Park, an area of protected woodland in the Montreal borough of Ville St-Laurent. The woodland became an important generator in the design of the library, the idea being to create new connections and experiences that would reinforce its value to the community and contribute to the creation of a new and attractive centre for cultural activities.
The program is arranged on two levels around a central skylit entrance atrium, and includes book stacks, multi-media collections, computer work stations, meeting and training rooms, teen and youth areas, a cafe, an exhibition gallery and archival storage. Nestled against the trees and accessed via a sloping walkway that traverses the park from Boulevard Thimans.
The building is linear in plan, a glass prism enveloped in a wooden ‘hull’ that undulates gently in both plan and section. Slatted wood surfaces also define the interior spaces, rising and falling in harmony with the changes in scale from grand to intimate. The public spaces are designed to engage the landscape, with the cafe serving as a ‘gateway’ to the woodland beyond.
The two-storey format minimized the building footprint and provided the opportunity for the planting of 105 trees and 5,000 shrubs, as well as the creation of detention ponds for stormwater management. The building’s green roof slows the runoff of rainwater which is directed to storage tanks before being returned to the landscape under gravity.
The building is characterized by abundant daylight admitted to 75% of the floor area by way of the central skylight and large areas of high-performance glazed curtain wall. Operable windows are provided for natural ventilation. Transparent partitions and open plan areas mean that 90% of the occupied floor area has views to the exterior. Daylight and occupancy sensors further reduce lighting loads.
Architects Eric Pelletier architecte, Cardinal Hardy et associés, s.e.n.c., Les Architectes Labonté Marcil s.e.n.c.
Client Ville de Montréal, arrondissement de St-Laurent
Landscape Architect Cardinal Hardy et associés, s.e.n.c.
Structural engineer SDK et associés Inc.
M&E engineers Leroux Beaudoin Hurens et associés Inc.
Acoustic Consultant Davidson & Associés inc.
LEED Consultant EXP
General Contractor Pomerleau inc.
Steel and concrete construction with curtain wall, skylights, prefabricated wall panels with metal facing, vegetated roof, Interface carpet tile. Geothermal providing in-floor heating using the Uponor system. Pumps by Taco Canada Ltd .
Energy Intensity [building and process energy] = 289 kWh/m2
Energy Cost Savings Relative to reference building under MNECB = 79%
Regional Materials [800 km radius] by value = 44%
Reclaimed and recycled materials by value = 30%
Construction waste diversion = 84%
Potable water consumption [in-building + irrigation] = 876L/occupant/year
In building potable water use reduction = 87%
Irrigation potable water use reduction = 100%