MacOdrum Library Expansion and Renovation

“Students and faculty use the library in a variety of ways, some that we had planned for and some that have grown out of an excellent design. There is space for contemplation and space for creative chaos.”

Valerie Critchley, Systems Librarian, Carleton University

MacOdrum serves as the primary library for Carleton University and holds a highly visible place in the campus plan as one of the original buildings on the main Quad. Since opening in 1958 it has seen a number of piecemeal renovations. The 2013 expansion of MacOdrum Library involved additions on the east and west sides of the building and extensive renovations to the interiors.

The east addition adds nine new reading rooms that allow for visual connection and a free flow of students around a signature helical mahogany staircase that coils its way up through the floors and makes taking the stairs a more appealing option. The fourth and fifth floor addition located on the west side includes group study rooms, a state-of-the-art Discovery Centre with digital media labs, additional space for Carleton’s Archives and Research Collections, study areas and help desks.

One of the more transformative design interventions was the removal of the existing front façade – an aluminum frame with peephole windows – replaced by an expanse of glass that wraps the 20-foot extension at the front of the library, brings daylight deep into the core and allows for enhanced connection with the campus. A double-height reading room at grade creates a welcoming presence on arrival. MacOdrum Library not only provides students with a variety of facilities required for today’s interdisciplinary and digitally- driven academic programs, but also re-establishes the library as a vibrant space at the heart of the campus.

Client Carleton University
Completion 2013
Sustainability Green Globes

In joint venture with Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects Inc.
Photography doublespace photography

Awards See all project awards
2015 OLA Library Building Award – Design Transformation
Team See full project team