'A beacon at the heart of Saskatoon'; New central library features First Nations, Metis design

Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) is drawing inspiration from traditional First Nation and Metis architecture for its new central library.

Designed by Alfred Waugh of Formline Architecture and Stephan Chevalier of Chevalier Morales Architects, the exterior concept drawing references a First Nations tipi.

“The building envelope is a combination of transparent, translucent and opaque glass panels. This will ensure there are ever-present views of the beautiful sky. At night, the library will be a warm, glowing lantern — a beacon at the heart of Saskatoon,” according to a description of the design.

The interior mass timber structure references a Metis log cabin.

“The building’s structure is conceived as a tree, with a strong concrete structural trunk in the back and a light wood mass timber structure branching off. This structure will enable the library to have large open and interconnected areas, with a minimum number of interior walls and separations,” SPL says.

Planning now turns to the interior of the building.

"Phase two of the design process is critical, as it will directly inform floorplans and room characteristics, so we encourage all residents to share their thoughts with us during June," CEO Carol Cooley said in the release.

The new library will be located at 321 Second Avenue North and is scheduled to open in 2026.

The total project cost is budgeted at $134 million.