The New Kentville Library occupies a unique setting. On the south western edge of its site, the library addresses the tight urban core of downtown Kentville, Nova Scotia, and allows the public easy access from the town center. On the north east edge, the library addresses the natural setting of the Cornwallis River and the dyked argricultural marshland beyond. The library will take advantage of both the urban and natural conditions, providing for the people of Kentville a landmark building that will give rise to an increased civic pride, and enhance the growing recreational and leisure opportunities of the Town of Kentville.
The main project axis runs west to east, and to move through the site is to transition from urban setting to nature setting. Pinwheeling along this axis are the two buildings that create both the Entry and Garden Courts, the former addressing the urban condition, the latter the natural landscape. Opportunities to embrace both landscapes abound. The proposed building embraces this condition and takes advantage of its position. As urban catalyst, the building is seen to contribute to the potentially vibrant street life of Justice Way.
As landscape vessel, the building connects to adjacent nature and walking trails, embracing local fauna and flora. It incudes a number of mature tree species found onsite, and provides a spectacular view into the surrounding landscape.
Conversely, this slip gives the library its entry court at the opposite end of the building. A long, metal shed roof ties all of these elements (entry court, wooden box, and glass box) together. The public porch is created with the roof’s extension toward the garden court, and is lifted above the servicebar to allow north light penetration. The design team conducted three participatory workshops - Urban, Program, and Form. These workshops gave the community, project stakeholders, and potential users the opportunity to put forth their views, and to be heard in a meaningful way.