York Urbanist

6 RICHMOND HILL LIBRARY – Iconic Buildings

December 16th, 2011

The Central Library, with 60,000 square feet of public space was designed by A.J. Diamond, Donald Schmitt and Company and opened in 1993. The building subsequently won the Governor General’s Award for Architecture (1994), the Portland Cement Association Concrete Building Award (1994), and the Financial Post Design Effectiveness Award for Architectural Design (1995). The library houses a Local History Room that contains York Region’s largest repository of genealogical data as well as a fascinating collection of early photographs and historical documents.

A library is one of the key community resources of any community, with not only books but also a place to meet.  The location and context of this building is ideally situated at the geographic centre of Richmond Hill at Major Mackenzie and Yonge Street. It is set amongst other government owned buildings and open space in what is a Public Precinct west of Yonge.  The building glows at night, like a sentinel on the hill that oversees Yonge Street. The design does not reveal a date or era, giving us a sense that it will represent Richmond Hill for many years to come. Interestingly, it lacks the iconographic character that is the seventh on the list, Dunlap Observatory, but unlike the observatory, the library’s function should continue well into the future.

Iconic Rating – 8 out of 10

Desirability – 9 out of 10

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