June 18, 2009
Downtown Kitchener, Ontario library to get $25 million makeover
Tenders are expected to be called next summer for the renovation and expansion of the downtown Kitchener public library and construction of an accompanying three-level underground parking garage.
The project is being undertaken by a team that includes Toronto’s Levitt Goodman Architects in association with the Walter Fedy Partnership of Kitchener and Phillip H. Carter Architect of Toronto.
All new construction will target LEED Gold certification.
Project architect David Warne of Levitt Goodman said the key challenge will be phasing — keeping the existing library open while constructing the parking garage and a 25,000-square-foot addition to the library.
The construction budget is $24.9 million in the case of the library and $18.5 million for the garage, which is to provide a platform for a future public square.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2013.
The library is located on Queen Street in the heart of the “civic district” block which also accommodates the city’s courthouse, the Region of Waterloo building and the Centre in The Square performing arts centre.
The project will proceed under the direction of Janna Levitt, a principal in Levitt Goodman. Her firm has authored the past three feasibility studies for the Kitchener Public Library and participated in civic district design charettes.
Other Levitt Goodman projects include the Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum and the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
Library consultant and design collaborator Phillip Carter has successfully overseen more than 50 library projects, including renovations to some 25 Toronto Public Library branches.
The Walter Fedy Partnership will provide expertise in parking garage design, LEED, mechanical, electrical and structural engineering.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us as designers — we look forward to engaging with the community and building a place that will enhance Kitchener’s growing reputation for creative innovation,” Levitt said.
Dan Carli, chair of the Kitchener Public Library Board said Levitt Goodman and its associates demonstrated “a clear understanding of a public library’s unique design needs.
“A public library is not just a warehouse of books,” Carli said. “It is a community place where people gather to learn, share, listen and be heard.
“Such a place requires not only an innovative design but also one that takes into consideration the community it serves.”
Kitchener city council recently gave the project a green light.
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