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Harris Learning Library

Nipissing University / Canadore College

Location: North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Client: Nipissing University / Canadore College
Completion: June 2011

In Joint Venture with Evans Bertrand Hill Wheeler Architecture Inc.

Photography: Shai Gil


The three-storey, 56,000-square-foot library serves as a new gateway to the shared Nipissing and Canadore campus and doubles the size of existing collection space and student user space. Key architectural elements include two large, fully glazed volumes that bookend the building with a double-storey study hall at one end and service space at the other. A three-storey skylight atrium serves as the axis for student orientation and provides natural day lighting throughout. A unique feature is a terraced reading area with built-in seating on a gentle grade between the first and second floor. The periodical reading room provides views over the evergreen forest landscape.

This library serves equally as a resource centre and a town square for information exchange where students can access group study space, computer rooms, distant learning facilities, informal study space and traditional reading rooms. The configuration transitions from social learning on the lower floors to study space that is quieter and more focused on the third floor. A special feature of the library is the Treaty Learning Centre, designed for studying the experiences of First Nations in Canada.