Belleville Public Library and John M. Parrott Art Galleries

Belleville, Ontario

Client: City of Belleville
Size: 38,000 sq.ft. (4,000 sq.m.)

The 38,000 s.f. Belleville Public Library provides resources for research and recreation and serves as a cultural and community destination. The view to the City Hall tower, adjacent to the Pinnacle Theatre and the previous Corby library connects the new library to past history and the future. The new cultural precinct will act as a catalyst for growth and renewal.

The design articulates the library in two distinct masses; the rectangular mass is anchored to the west while the circular element faces both Campbell and Pinnacle Streets. The rectangular element houses the library stacks, lounges and study spaces, the circular is more public in nature including a giftshop and street café. The thirdoor gallery is easily seen from the main three-storey entrance rotunda. This hall greets patrons as a civic space, connecting building activities vertically.

The rectangular building’s exterior is enveloped with beige and reddish brown squares of concrete inspired by pattern paintings and quilts. Within the site context, the notion of the quilt allows inclusion of a variety of colours and textures, now easily achieved with pre-cast technologies.

A large plaza frames the circular building, welcoming people from Campbell and Pinnacle Streets. A courtyard nestled between the library and the Pinnacle Playhouse may be used for special events. Visible from within, these public spaces have added greatly to the animation of the urban site.


  • Ontario Association of Architects - Design Excellence Award, 2008