Accoladed Montreal firm Chevalier Morales Architectes recently completed the Drummondville Public library. Set on a strategically central site in the historic Québécois market town, the new curtain wall structure serves as much more than just a standard bibliothèque. The “well rounded” building operates as a sorely needed connector that bridges a formerly isolated civic complex to Drummonville’s commercial core.
Making use of as much space as possible on an awkwardly-shaped plot, the project’s mass snakes in different directions but ultimately finds its grounding tucked in between various preexisting infrastructures, a power-line to the east and a skating rink to the west.
The two-story building’s curvilinear envelope carries through into its interior where convex and concave architectural elements help foster a program of unencumbered and layered movement. The structure not only houses the city’s main library but also its historic society, arts and culture, and immigration departments.
For this reason, the firm implemented an accessible scheme that emulates a shopping mall. Visitors are able to enter the multifaceted building before and after the library’s opening hours. The main access corridor and multi-purpose events space bypass the sealed book stack and reference desk rooms.
For the overall concept, Chevalier Morales Architectes drew inspiration from Drummondville’s history. The building’s blue-tinted and milky glass exterior eludes to the town’s first heavy industry: iron slag. Evident in other structural and material elements, this vernacular approach helps integrate the state-of-the-art edifice into its surroundings.
Header image: At the locus point of this matrix is a grand sculptural staircase, sloping in to place thanks to its helical solid worked-wood balustrade. (Adrien Williams)