Construction on an expansion of the central Vancouver Public Library has officially begun, renovating the building’s top two floors to include a reading room, new community event space, theatre and public garden, among other enhancements.
The top two floors of the building were previously leased out, and will expand the library by 35,000 square feet. A new escalator will connect levels seven and eight, currently the upper-most accessible level of the building.
One of the most exciting changes will be the opening of the “garden in the sky” to the public. There has always been a green roof on the roof of the building, but it has never been accessible to the public. The expansion will open up the 20,000 square foot space and add new seating areas, allowing bookworms to relax and catch up on their reading nestled among the city skyline.
The green roof was designed by renowned Vancouver landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander. The landscaping is made up of blue and green fescue bunch grass, as well as kinnickinnick, both of which are native to southwestern B.C.
The colours of the grasses symbolize water, shore and forest, while the meandering pattern down the centre reflects the shape of the Fraser River.
The new spaces including the rooftop garden should be complete by Spring 2018.
The central branch was designed by Moshe Safdie, an Israeli/Canadian/American architect and urban designer.
The Vancouver Public Library is the most-visited major urban library system per capita in Canada.
Last year, VPL had more than 6.8 million visits with patrons borrowing almost 9.4 million physical and digital items.