Teeple Architects, in association with Stantec, has completed the $84.5-million, 230,000-sf renovation and expansion project of the existing Edmonton Public Library (EPL) main branch into an innovative and welcoming civic hub.
Now named the Stanley A. Milner Library, the facility originally opened as Edmonton’s Centennial Library in 1967. The renovation and expansion project actively supports the library’s position as a social and creative destination at its prominent downtown location on Sir Winston Churchill Square.
The original scope of the project included replacing the building’s exterior precast panels with a new energy efficient zinc building envelope with expanses of glazing, upgrading several aging building systems, activating the civic space around the building, and creating a new architectural identity to foster greater community engagement.
The public is invited inside the building via colored skylights, glazing panels, EPL signage, and a new plaza with clear views into the library’s programming, transforming the new library into a welcoming portal between Sir Winston Churchill Square and Centennial Square.
After collaboration with EPL and the City of Edmonton the project was expanded to include a comprehensive interior renovation. Visitors enter into a bright six-story atrium defined by a new “reading ramp” and a two-story interactive display wall. Basement lobby space for the the building’s theater and event rooms is now visible through voids in the floor.
New amenities spaces include large galleria spaces, a cafe, a multi-functional children’s library, maker spaces, a gaming space, a teaching kitchen, meeting spaces, administrative offices, and the PÎYÊSÎW WÂSKÂHIKAN (Thunderbird House), an Indigenous gathering and smudging space designed in consultation with local Cree Elders and their communities.
The Shelley Milner Children’s Library nearly triples the size of the original children’s area and hosts the Gwyn Morgan & Patricia Trottier Foundation Early Literacy Centre, the Brown Family Playspace, and the Al & Fran Olson Children’s Makerspace for ages 6-12.
The Makerspace on the second floor is for ages 12 and up and encompasses 10,000 sf. It comprises 3D printers, a heat press, a vinyl cutter, a sewing and serving center, a book binding area, a fully equipped Fab Lab with a laser cutter, a computer lab, a digital conversion services center, and recording studios.
The Stanley A. Milner Library Renewal project was completed in 2020.