Valley Park Public Library

Over nearly 40 years of hockey games, swimming lessons, volleyball matches, and story times, the Valley Park Community Centre is central to community life. However, a lot has changed since the 1980s when it was first built. Stoney Creek has expanded and diversified significantly. Technology is helping people learn and connect in new ways. We are more conscious of our impact on the environment. The 2,462 sq.m (26,500 sq.ft.) library expansion is LEED Gold-certified, featuring extensive upgrades within the facility to reinvent it as a sustainable, upgraded reflection of this vibrant community. 

Arranged in a large square with the children’s area at its centre there are library zones for computer use, general print and digital media collections, a dynamic makerspace and green screen/media recording room, young adult area and study rooms.  A variety of seating opportunities are providing throughout the library and recreation centre from cozy loungers with a view to the outside world to adjustable tasks chairs at workstations to support different uses and users. 

An adaptable community room connects to a new entry on the west side where the old meets new, becoming an accessible off hours area within the facility that can be booked for several types of community meetings and purposes.   Through thoughtful space planning the community room is divisible into two spaces with connections to the library and recreation centre for simultaneous use by each department.

A delightful detail is the courtyard, enclosed on all sides by a one-way, reflective glass. It is filled with native plantings, trees, and large, natural boulders of local geology, dotted by benches in an offset pattern. Sitting in this peaceful environment visitors become oblivious to the activity within the library, a perfect moment of quiet reading or reflection. The courtyard is fully visible from the chairs within the library which line the feature on one side, and large windows from the community room on the other. It creates a beautiful vista that feels quite special and disconnected from the busy street views which define the north facing areas. 

We integrated individually controlled variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems in each library zone. Diffusers seamlessly weave within the complex ceiling plan, all working together to control acoustics and enhance the visitor experience.  Utility spaces like the fully accessible, non-binary washrooms, shipping/receiving, mechanical and electrical are located on one side of the building to keep the overall public space as open and flexible as possible. 

By opening the interior entry areas, a formerly closed off and confusing entry experience has become a beautiful extension of the community centre’s programming. It improved wayfinding and added areas to comfortably wait during classes, practice or during games.  

On the exterior a large-scale public art piece by Vivian Rosas greets visitors and passersby. We shaped a new shared entry, exterior plaza and drop off area marked by natural plantings and materiality. The exterior of the addition is clad dominantly in regionally sourced limestone contrasted against a deep graphite coloured architectural block with a distinctive rhythm of vertically oriented, high-performing windows with copper accents. The solar panels on the roof stand out above building presenting a clear, visual symbol of the project’s sustainable vision.  Exterior cladding on the recreation centre was selectively replaced to create a modern feel, lighten up the main entry and addressing maintenance and operational concerns.