Sprucewood Branch

Designed as the culmination of my thesis research into branch libraries, this proposal is a replacement to Edmonton Public Library's Sprucewood branch near 118th avenue. The thesis research identified and argued for 12 distinct program areas of equal importance, and the building seeks to present these areas as a minimally-hierarchical mosaic, analogous to book spines on a shelf. The different program areas are contained in brackets along an interior street, organized to form an acoustic gradient from the liveliest areas along 118th avenue to the quiet study niches at the opposite end of the building. The library was designed to have strong aesthetic continuity with the existing Sprucewood branch, creating a sense of familiarity instead of novelty.

The thesis research identified spatial metaphor as a primary way of communicating ideas via architecture, and this branch was designed around the metaphor "the library is a walled garden," where the interior is a rich landscape to explore. This metaphor had the unfortunate effect of encouraging an overly inward-looking building, and the bunker-like exterior is problematic for an 'open' public institution like the library.

The library is tied to the domestic realm, as opposed to the commercial one, by relating its massing to the adjacent houses. The grid of lot lines is continued across the site and used to break up the library into distinct masses, creating reading niches and multiple entry points between the segments of the building.

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