Westmount Public Library
Westmount, Quebec, Canada
Built in 1899, the Westmount Public Library is the oldest public library in Quebec and one of the oldest in Canada. The library is the most used public resource in the city of Westmount, but it had become too outdated and cramped to remain the center of the city’s cultural life. The Office of Peter Rose was retained to restore the building to its original grandeur and to add 25,000 square feet of new space to accommodate expanded services, growing collections, and user spaces.
The constraints of a small building site required that an earlier obsolete addition be razed and that all elements of the new building be precisely inserted into the existing complex. Located between the original library of 1899 and the Children’s Library of 1911, the new entry faces Sherbrooke Street which is the city’s main thoroughfare. The entry spine leads to a new three-story structure and provides easy access to all services and collections.
The architecture of the new facility compliments but does not replicate the original buildings. The exterior of brick, limestone and slate retains the materiality of the older masonry structures. Carefully detailed expanses of glass allow natural light into interior spaces and compliment the city’s treasured historic greenhouses.