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Alucobond Enveloped Library Is The Collaborative Effort of Local and Internationally Renowned Architecture Firms

Highlands Branch Library, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Marshall Tittemore Architects, Thermal Systems, Alucobond Aluminum Composite, Merle Prosofsky Photography

Architecture’s status as a “landmark” is based on a variety of factors. The structure must be uniquely and beautifully designed, but it also must serve some great function to the location’s community. Not surprising, when local Edmonton architects, Marshall Tittemore and European powerhouse Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL) were commissioned for the Highlands Branch Library, it would result in something landmark worthy.

Highlands Branch Library, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Marshall Tittemore Architects, Thermal Systems, Alucobond Aluminum Composite, Merle Prosofsky Photography
photograph Merle Prospfsky

The collaborative design replaces the city’s public facility built in 1962. The new structure is comprised of three interconnected wings using pitched roof systems. The design mimics the low-rise buildings of the surrounding neighborhood, describes Chris Hardie, architect/partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.

Highlands Branch Library, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Marshall Tittemore Architects, Alucobond Aluminum Composite, Thermal Systems
photograph Thermal Systems

The library, as a public facility, fell under strict budget constraints that required creative design elements to ensure a user and eco-friendly structure. The result is a 16,000 square foot LEED Silver building enveloped entirely in Alucobond metallic aluminum composite material. The large vertical aluminum panels, fabricated and installed by Thermal Systems, create the building’s iconic shape and allow for a seamless exterior design.

Highlands Branch Library, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Marshall Tittemore Architects, Alucobond Aluminum Composite, Thermal Systems
photograph Thermal Systems

Another attracting feature of the exterior is the large windows that enable an influx of natural light to the interior, but additionally offer a unique appearance to the façade at night. The windows increase visibility and engage passersby, as intended by the design team.

Highlands Branch Library, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Marshall Tittemore Architects, Thermal Systems, Alucobond Aluminum Composite, Merle Prosofsky Photography
photograph Merle Prospfsky

As previously mentioned, the structure is split into three wings each of which serve a function to separate book collections for children, teens, and adults. The interior utilizes high ceilings with a centralized librarian station. The openness of the design serves a “social hub function” explains founding partner at SHL, Morten Schmidt. Schmidt further describes, “The library pavilion faces the surroundings in all directions and acts like a beacon in the community.”

Highlands Branch Library, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Marshall Tittemore Architects, Thermal Systems, Alucobond Aluminum Composite, Merle Prosofsky Photography
photograph Merle Prospfsky

Libraries serve a fantastic role in a community, creating an intellectual sanctuary for its visitors. Utilizing modern design in their creation allows buildings to become a source of pride and most importantly, encourages young people to take an active interest in reading. Hardie explains, “The library sits like an open pavilion in a garden and expresses that it is open to all; a free public space, a place to read, a place to learn, a place to meet, a place to be.”

Information courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Photography courtesy of Merle Prosofsky Photography and Thermal Systems (see below)

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