The structure is predominantly cast-in-place concrete on piles, undulating in a gesture of shelter from the harsh northern Albertan winters. Fast + Epp designed an expressive folded plate concrete roof that spans the entire library space, free of columns to allow for flexibility. The roof, punctuated with skylights, peaks over the main double-height reading room and descends on the east and west sides of the building. Meanwhile, to the north and south, large expanses of glazing bring in natural light and reduce energy use as part of a passive design strategy.
To showcase the exposed concrete structure both inside the building and out the problem of thermal energy loss became a significant issue in the extreme temperatures of Northern Alberta. The solution was to use a structural thermal break along the glazing line which allowed the concrete shell to project as an overhang and as a part of the shell structure, to dramatically expose the concrete surface over the entry and upper level patio area. This was the first time we had used this type of product in Edmonton but has since become more comment to prevent energy loss and potential moisture and mold issues within buildings.