A ‘bookless’ library has opened in a former post office in Ontario

The Idea Exchange is a centre for learning and making

RDHA added a ‘floating’ glass pavilion to a 134-year-old building in Cambridge, Ontario to create The Idea Exchange Old Post Office – a centre for learning and making.

The building is home to a book-free library where visitors can read on tablets, as well as a 3D-printing makerspace, restaurant and event space.

The architects added an extra 9,000 sq foot of space to the former post office, by installing a pair of glass volumes that wrap around the original listed building. Its historical details can still be seen through the additions, emphasising its freshly restored masonry. Visitors can also get a close-up look from building’s outside roof terrace, which overlooks the nearby river.

The Idea Exchange Old Post Office - a centre for learning and making.
Photography: Tom Arban

Openings in the library’s floors allow light to filter down to the lower levels, where visitors can use public creative studio spaces including recording suites. Musical instruments are also on hand to borrow.

At the top of the building, an all-white makerspace makes the most of the pitched roof. Here, people can use laser cutters, 3D printers, sewing machines and various other workshop tools. If they lack in inspiration, a quick look up at the clock tower’s gears – exposed by the glass ceiling – might help. And if they’re still yearning for the smell of an old book, the Idea Exchange Queens Square Branch still has an extensive collection a short walk away.

Photography: Tom Arban
The Idea Exchange Old Post Office - a centre for learning and making
Photography: Tom Arban
The Idea Exchange Old Post Office - a centre for learning and making.
Photography: Tom Arban

Beyond books: rebooting the library for the 21st century

Latest Stories

Latest

Share Tweet
+