Montreal's Grand Bibliotheque

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The Grand Bibliotheque is a large public library in Montreal designed by Patkau Architects.  I was impressed with the building in so many was a vital and essential building in the urban fabric of the city.  Not only did the space depicted above serve as the main lobby for the library and archives of Quebec's national library system, it was also a point of entry into the Metro system which funneled a greater number of people through the space making it vibrant and active.  A fabulous example of how transit can infuse life into the adjoining uses of Transit Oriented Development (TOD). 

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I was also impressed with the execution of design.   A few years ago, I had the opportunity to teach a studio project at Montana State University and led the students on a field trip to Vancouver BC.  Patricia Patkau gave us a tour of her office and shared with us the design for the Bibliotheque.  Given the small size of the office, and that the firm had not previously completed a building of this size, and that there was a Montreal based associate architect overseeing construction, I wondered how well the design would be executed.  To my surprise, I found the building details to be crisp and construction quality high.  And the resulting spaces were quite delightful - both in amount and quality of natural daylight but also in the variety of spaces that are well suited the numerous functions of a modern library.  I was also impressed with the simplicity and honesty of the custom furniture.

The Grand Bibliotheque is one of the great examples of contemporary architecture that makes Montreal a truly metropolitan city.