Bill and Helen Norrie Library wins sustainability award

The exterior of the Bill and Helen Norrie Library.
The Bill and Helen Norrie Library won a SAB Magazine award for sustainable design this summer.

The Bill and Helen Norrie Library won an award for sustainable design this summer.

The 1,300 square-metre library, located at 15 Poseidon Bay in the Grant Park neighbourhood, is the recipient of a Sustainable Architecture & Building (SAB) Magazine award in the Institutional (Small) category.

“We’re so pleased to receive this award, especially because we drew so much inspiration from the local Métis community, the Prairie landscape, and the surrounding neighbourhood,” said Corey Greenham, a principal architect with LM Architectural Group, which designed the space.

“It’s a true honour for our work to be recognized in this way.”

The panel of judges decided the library’s energy efficiency as well as its social, cultural, and educational agenda merited the award.

The building was designed with a traditional Métis big house in mind – an acknowledgement of the difficult history of the area, which was once a Métis settlement called Rooster Town.

The inside of the library matches the intent of the outside.

Visitors can learn about the history of Rooster Town and the families that called it home by browsing the extensive educational materials on the walls, which were compiled following consultations with families and descendants of people from Rooster Town.

Green walls and educational posters are featured together to create a feeling of belonging for visitors, including a connection to the land on which the building is located.

“The Bill and Helen Norrie Library is meant to feel like home,” Greenham said.

“Whether you like to read on a deck, play outside, or gather around a fireplace, we want visitors to experience all of those things and feel comfortable at this library.”

When the weather is too cold, library goers can curl up in comfy chairs in front of big windows, which are positioned to absorb solar heat and reduce heating costs.

In the summer, the roof overhangs create shade to prevent the building from getting too hot.

Look towards the ceiling and visitors will notice beautiful exposed beams, which not only contribute to the look and feel of the Métis big house, but also promote energy efficient cooling of the space

A bike is locked to a rack near the Bill and Helen Norrie Library.
The library is located on cycling and walking routes, and close to a Winnipeg Transit bus stop. It has the first electric vehicle charging station at a Winnipeg Public Library.

Greenham says the architects also wanted library patrons to be able to access the space in an environmentally friendly way.

The library ties into cycling and walking routes and offers conveniently-placed bike racks to encourage active commutes.

A large bench outside the library allows people to relax while they wait for a bus.

The parking lot also includes the first electric vehicle charging station at a Winnipeg public library.

“We hope that every time you visit this library you’ll feel comfortable and at home, and excited to learn something new about our community,” Greenham said.

To learn more about the building’s energy efficient design, check out the SAB Magazine award page.


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