Toronto Public Library - Scarborough Civic Centre Branch and Civic Green

Scarborough, Toronto

Designed by LGA Architectural Partners with Philip H. Carter Architecture + Urban Planning

Toronto Public Library’s Scarborough Civic Centre Branch establishes a new landmark against the backdrop of the iconic Scarborough Civic Centre, and provides citizens with an inclusive, technologically adaptable learning hub.


Designing a new building adjacent to Scarborough’s Civic Centre was a daunting challenge. Our response was to provide a warm and approachable counterpoint to the building’s formal elegance, and to integrate architecture with landscape, so that the building would appear as a transparent pavilion topped by four gently sloped green roofs supported by crossed spruce columns. 

Organized on a single, open-plan level, the library is a welcoming and accessible ‘public living room’ that invites collaboration. The architecture breaks free from the conventional box, using its openness and the interplay of its angled ceiling planes to foster a creative environment that supports learning and freedom of thought. 

To the east, the library encircles a courtyard planted with a clutch of mature oak trees, showcasing their slender grace through expansive windows and echoing their trunks with the interior columns. In the warmer months the children’s area opens to this courtyard, extending the playful nook to young minds.

Inside, the library is an open and flexible community space. Along with books and free wifi, it offers design workstations with audio- and video-editing programs, 3-D design and coding software, and an array of classes for all ages. The vegetation on the library’s green roof is also visible from inside through clerestory windows placed beneath the weaving roof planes, opening up views to the garden overhead while allowing natural light to permeate the interior.

No-longer-silent chambers muffled from the sights, sounds and distractions of the outside world, today’s public libraries are vibrant indoor spaces that let the city in. Scarborough Civic Centre is an architectural expression of this modern library – one attuned to the needs of the 21st-century city.


Daniel Rotsztain, Globe and Mail


2016 Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award
2016 Ontario Library Association Library Building Award
2015 Ontario Wood WORKS! Design Award


Urban Toronto – (June 2015) New Library Opens at Scarborough Civic Centre
Toronto Life – (June 2015) Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because our new library is a modern Agora
Globe and mail – (May 2015) Then there were 100: Why the Toronto Public Library’s newest branch is the perfect modern library
Designlines – (August 2015) Why Toronto Libraries Have a Bright Future
Daily Commercial News – (June 2015) New Scarborough library a “green respite”
Canadian Architect – (June 2015) Toronto Public Library’s Scarborough Civic Centre Branch opens
BlogTO – (May 2015) The top 5 new libraries in Toronto
Azure – (June 2015) A Toronto Library that speaks volumes