Guelph, ON

McLaughlin Library

In 2018, we completed the McLaughlin Library on the University of Guelph campus. The 90,000 SF design included renovations to its entire existing lower and second levels with the goal of improving student spaces, providing additional compact shelving for its prized archival and special collections, enhancing staff work flow and replacing aging infrastructure.

On the second floor we transformed the space, designing a maker space to promote innovative study and collaboration and creating a tailored, cohesive experience for users. An inventive solution to the study carrels was particularly impactful in our approach to this space.

Further, we designed and provided compact shelving, including innovative solutions that helped free up valuable programming areas where the focus shifts to student life and educational environments that foster a range of gathering opportunities.

Within the archival areas, we worked with stakeholders to highlight the University’s extensive collection of archival materials. The archives are a special draw on campus, therefore we worked to highlight its importance, creating a new public area and dedicated exhibit room. Within the archives there is now improved staff work flow, the space is accessible and we introduced flexible solutions that will help the Library adapt and remain relevant over time. We also provided new furniture, enhanced audio-video, and expanded security within the facility.

Sustainability is a key driver identified by University of Guelph. Envelope design and building systems were holistically developed to create a comfortable, healthy, productive and inspiring environment that is efficient to operate over the life of the facility.

Project Link


Architecture, Interior Design, Master Planning, Mechanical Engineering


Post Secondary

Team Leaders

Drew Hauser
Mary Georgious
Liam Brown
Christina Karney

Partners & sub consultants

Aquicon Construction - Contractor
WSP Canada - Structural
Smith+Anderson - Electrical


90,000 SQ. FT.



Challenges and Accomplishments

  • We successfully implemented building envelope improvements to a mid-century facade including replacement of exterior window systems, doors and louvers/grilles and replacement of exterior envelope joint sealants. The selected window framing was respectful of the original profile to preserve the original design. Support and tie-in to existing envelope barriers was reviewed in detail.
  • The way in which we addressed the compact storage solutions has allowed the library to shift much of its footprint to programming, helping to make this space increasingly relevant within the context of how libraries, and archival areas, are shifting.
  • We included various student seating types, including student carrels that addressed the changing way we view individualized and collaborate study solutions.
  • Our phased approach meant that work on multiple floors occurred concurrently that weren’t directly one above/below another.