Whistler Public Library

Location

Whistler, BC

Size

1,400 square metres

Completion

2008

Structural Engineer

Fast + Epp

Construction Manager

Whistler Construction Company Inc.

Wood Supplier

Structurlam

Wood Species

hemlock

western red cedar

Douglas-fir

Project Materials

Glue-laminated timber (Glulam)

Millwork

Siding

Structural Systems

Low rise

Passive house / High performance

Post + beam

Prefabricated

Whistler’s library offers a contemporary interpretation of the resort municipality’s design guidelines, creating a fresh and modern expression of what it means to build in a West Coast mountain environment dominated by an alpine aesthetic.
  • Reclaimed Douglas-fir millwork throughout enhances the warm and cozy feeling of the interior.
  • Innovative use of hemlock takes advantage of its strength and stiffness to form a long-span roof design.
  • First LEED Gold-certified library in Canada.

Warm up with more than a good book

Not only a great place to warm up with a good book, the Whistler Public Library is a social hub seamlessly integrated into this alpine community. The L-shaped form of the timber building makes effective use of the site’s orientation to the sun, mediating between the urban edge of Whistler’s Village Stroll and the dramatic natural setting of the mountains beyond. Along with its resource collection, the library offers common space for small gatherings and events. Beyond borrowing services, it offers programming for youth, families, and seniors. After using the circulation desk, book stacks, reading areas, computer stations, or multi-purpose spaces, visitors can warm up next to a central stone fireplace or enjoy an outdoor reading terrace on summer days.

Innovative use of an abundant local species: hemlock

The library roof construction makes innovative use of hemlock, an abundant tree found in BC’s coastal forests, and showcases new commercial applications for this underused species.

The solid-wood roof system is composed of prefabricated panels made of solid hemlock members that span distances up to an impressive 14 metres. This is complemented by a stone-clad exterior, western red cedar siding, and composite panels, while reclaimed Douglas-fir millwork enhances the warm feeling of the interior.

“Hemlock is readily accessible throughout the coastal forests of British Columbia, but its potential has been largely overlooked. (The Whistler Library) roof system shows that hemlock can be a value-added product, as well as an inherently sustainable one.”

Duane Palibroda, Principal Fast + Epp Structural Engineers