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Slicker City

Here's A Novel Idea: A Pint-Size Lending Library As A Placemaking Intervention

The 64-square-foot Story Pod uses design to entice visitors to downtown Newmarket, a suburb outside of Toronto.

  • <p>Located in Newmarket, Ontario, the Story Pod uses design and books as a placemaking intervention.</p>
  • <p>The 64-square-foot structure, which was donated to the city, features built-in benches and shelves. Think of it as a public reading nook.</p>
  • <p>Built from plywood, the pavilion features two massive pivoting doors fitted with custom plate-steel hinges fabricated by CFORM Design.</p>
  • <p>The city wanted to find ways to bring its residents into the historic downtown core and used design to accomplish the feat. "Designing spaces that are not only functional and well performing but also beautiful and inspiring can have a profound or sometimes subtle effect on people’s daily experiences," architect Kelly Buffey says. "We are constantly influenced in some way by the various spaces we encounter."</p>
  • <p>The slatted facade adds visual interest to the structure even when it's closed. "With such a basic form, we felt the incorporation of vertical exterior battens would not only add texture to the exterior, but also allow opportunity for the pavilion to change as people moved around it," architect Aaron Finbow says.</p>
  • <p>Solar-powered LED lights turn the pavilion into a beacon.</p>
  • <p>"The entire interior of the pavilion is uniformly clad in a warm, veneer plywood, in direct contrast to the dark exterior," Finbow says. "When the exterior walls pivot open during the day, the pavilion extends outwards to the surrounding public space and this change in materials draws people inward to sit, relax, interact, and read."</p>
  • <p>"The enjoyment of reading, sharing stories, exchanging ideas, ultimately made the project come into fruition purely for the joy, benefit and delight of its citizens," Buffey says.</p>
  • <p>"We hope people come away having experienced something intimate yet communal, fun and unique in their own backyard," Buffey says.</p>
  • 01 /09

    Located in Newmarket, Ontario, the Story Pod uses design and books as a placemaking intervention.

  • 02 /09

    The 64-square-foot structure, which was donated to the city, features built-in benches and shelves. Think of it as a public reading nook.

  • 03 /09

    Built from plywood, the pavilion features two massive pivoting doors fitted with custom plate-steel hinges fabricated by CFORM Design.

  • 04 /09

    The city wanted to find ways to bring its residents into the historic downtown core and used design to accomplish the feat. "Designing spaces that are not only functional and well performing but also beautiful and inspiring can have a profound or sometimes subtle effect on people’s daily experiences," architect Kelly Buffey says. "We are constantly influenced in some way by the various spaces we encounter."

  • 05 /09

    The slatted facade adds visual interest to the structure even when it's closed. "With such a basic form, we felt the incorporation of vertical exterior battens would not only add texture to the exterior, but also allow opportunity for the pavilion to change as people moved around it," architect Aaron Finbow says.

  • 06 /09

    Solar-powered LED lights turn the pavilion into a beacon.

  • 07 /09

    "The entire interior of the pavilion is uniformly clad in a warm, veneer plywood, in direct contrast to the dark exterior," Finbow says. "When the exterior walls pivot open during the day, the pavilion extends outwards to the surrounding public space and this change in materials draws people inward to sit, relax, interact, and read."

  • 08 /09

    "The enjoyment of reading, sharing stories, exchanging ideas, ultimately made the project come into fruition purely for the joy, benefit and delight of its citizens," Buffey says.

  • 09 /09

    "We hope people come away having experienced something intimate yet communal, fun and unique in their own backyard," Buffey says.

It's no secret that a thriving downtown is good for a city. To coax residents to its historic core, the town of Newmarket, a growing suburb north of Toronto, got creative and used architecture to get the job done. Enter the Story Pod, a portable lending library designed by Atelier Kastelic Buffey.

Though it's only 64 square feet, the pavilion is a veritable jewel box, with thoughtful details incorporated throughout the design. Two pivoting doors fitted with custom steel hinges open—like a book—to reveal reading nooks. Solar panels power the LED lights inside and the whole structure can easily be transported (a necessity due to Canada's notorious winter weather).

Bob Gundu

Held to a tight budget—the structure is a donation to the city from HollisWealth and the architects worked pro bono—AKB had to get creative with humble materials. The design team fashioned black-stained slatted plywood walls to enclose the library.

"The variation in its density and transparency provides different depths of view, which encourages one to continue to move around, explore, and interact with the pavilion as it unfolds more slowly and kinetically than a static façade," Kelly Buffey, one of AKB's co-founders, says.

"In this way, the pavilion remains an engaging object even when closed," Aaron Finbow, an architect at AKB, adds.

The architect and city hope the lending library becomes a treasured civic space and one that the city's residents will visit time and again.

"Spaces that are not only functional and well performing but also beautiful and inspiring can have a profound or sometimes subtle effect on people’s daily experiences," Buffey says. "We hope people come away having experienced something intimate yet communal, fun and unique in their own backyard."

Slideshow Credits: 01 / Bob Gundu; 02 / Shai Gil; 03 / Shai Gil; 04 / Bob Gundu; 05 / Bob Gundu; 07 / Shai Gil; 08 / Bob Gundu; 09 / Shai Gil;

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