Anne Carrier architecture has won a competition to design the Bibliothèque de Marieville in Marieville, Qué., a rural community located an hour away from Montréal.
Marieville has a rich history and several buildings of interest, among them a stone church just south of the site. The future library will face the town’s century-old park featuring mature trees, a monument, and a kiosk where open-air concerts can take place. Remnants of a former church are buried in a preserved archeological zone.
The site borders the town’s main street running parallel to a nearby river and features historically significant residences. Over the last few years, Marieville has taken initiatives to gradually transform this central area into a civic pole where the library and its community-oriented services will play a major role. As they searched for a solution, the architects paid attention to the history of the site and its new context.
The project was slated to be built exactly where Marieville’s former library once stood, which was demolished in 2012. The future building’s elongated volume was determined by the narrowness of the site, and the presence of a protected archeological area. Nearby features, such as the park, several heritage buildings dotting the main street, a nearby spring, and the church’s parvis were all considered as the concept evolved.
A diagonal line was introduced on the ground floor of the library, as a reminder of the main street’s path. This break in the volume not only facilitates visual connections between the library and the site’s notable features but allows for a small triangular plaza, located off the library entrance.
For book lovers and students coming from a nearby school, the church will act as a visual reference guiding their steps toward the main door. Inside, a sculptural staircase will adorn the three-level lobby, as a reminder of the grain silos still predominant in this rural region.
In their competition entry, the architects opted for transparency and openness, particularly on the west façade facing the park. Services will be kept along the building’s east façade so all common spaces will enjoy a direct connection with the park’s environment.
The proposed library consists two three-level volumes linked by an elevator, a sculptural staircase, and two upper walkways. From the central lobby, open to all three floors, one will be able to visualize the entire building and fully grasp the presence of the church, park, and town’s main street, running parallel to the river.
As they come in, users will be directed left, toward the multipurpose room and the dance studio on the ground floor, or right to the library’s reception desk and children’s corner. Up one floor, visitors will have access to a community kitchen, workshop, and classroom on the north side, and to a periodicals area and a small café, part of the library. The building’s top floor will be dedicated to library functions, adult and teen sections, reading areas, media lab, and administration.
The library is scheduled to open in Summer 2023.