Surely the most significant thing about VPL’s opening of the top two floors and roof on the Central branch is the fulfilment of the original vision for Library Square.
Moshe Safdie, the architect, always intended the roof decks to be publicly accessible. But the financial contribution of the Province was dependent on the leasing of the upper floors, to remain separate from the rest of the institution. That lease has ended, and now another design of Vancouver’s greatest landscape architect is finally part of the public realm. Cornelia Oberlander has to her credit the landscaping of Canada Place, Robson Square and the Museum of Anthropology, among many others. It’s only right that the VPL should join that list.
Though the main part of the garden will still be out of sight, literally a roof garden, the public seating spaces and plantings below combine with the architecture to provide a complete composition.
There are actually three distinct spaces over two floors, each with its own ambiance, light and view. They are perfect places for get-togethers with a few friends, or simply to sit with, yes, a good book and your own thoughts.
Even better, some of these urban rooms will be able to host gatherings and staged events, indoors or out, while allowing other parts of the roof to be used at the same time for other purposes – each with its own dramatic backdrop.
One thing for sure: there had better be a coffee kiosk, and the coffee better be good.