An aging library is transformed into a warm, inviting, and bright campus nexus, using award-winning wood design.

Algonquin College wished to update its main library, constructed in 1969, into a facility which would become a new hub of the campus.  The new structure also needed to reflect Algonquin College’s commitment to sustainability and Indigenous studies and traditions.

Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited worked with our partners to exceed these goals, by upgrading the existing concrete core of the structure; pushing the building envelope out to add a bright glass curtain wall; and adding an additional storey with a gorgeous curving wood roof.  Combining wood, steel, and concrete to their best advantage, this complex structure shows what can be achieved through technical excellence and innovation.

The showcase element of the building is the new wood roof, which uses nail-laminated timber (NLT) panels supported by double-curvature glulam beams.  By keeping the structure free of joists, the warm wood soffit is front and centre in the final design.  Slim steel supports using Cast Connex connections maintain the smooth lines of the building, and enhance the light, minimalist feel of the structure.

Various elements designed by an Indigenous architect are woven into the structure as well, such as a V-shaped structural steel column channeling rainwater from the green roof to the courtyard, symbolizing a river.  Similarly, circular retaining walls of the courtyard create a special gathering place.

By re-imagining what can be done with aging buildings, and combining that with structural expertise, we’ve created a facility that forms the heart of the Algonquin College campus.