Hughes Condon Marler completes new library for Canadian ski-resort town
As the first major project after the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s adoption of
the Natural Step Program, the Whistler Library was asked to exemplify
sustainable design principles in a visually apparent manner. The building is
raised over existing parking to facilitate connections to the pedestrian Village
Stroll and to the cycling skiing paths found in adjacent Creekside Park.
The building form minimises summer, solar heat-gain while maximising desirable
northern light suitable for reading. The resultant gently sloping building section
provides dramatic views to the mountains to the north and a strong visual
connection between interior and exterior spaces. This indoor outdoor
connection has been accentuated by the use of natural building materials that
include locally-quarried basalt on the building’s totemic elements, locally harvested
cedar for cladding and an innovative, laminated-wood roof structure
made from second-growth hemlock.
Other sustainable strategies that have
been woven into the architecture include ground-source heat exchange,
displacement heating and cooling (through a raised access floor), high efficiency
boilers and direct, digital control systems (to enable manual control of
windows and mechanical systems). A cycling and skiing end-of-trip facility
provides showers and lockers to encourage visitors to use alternate transport.
Finally, a green roof, which reduces storm-water runoff and retains snow for
increased insulation, covers 80% of the library to act as a visual symbol of the
community’s sustainability goals and approach to a re-invented mountain