Libraries are hubs of opportunity and growth for communities. These types of civic projects have the chance to serve as architectural landmarks, giving citizens something to be proud of for years to come. It stands to reason that large, public installations such as these are required to strike a balance between trendy and cutting edge, flashy and eye-catching.
The Chambly Public Library is a part of the city’s new cultural center, the Pôle culturel de Chambly. The library and a multi-purpose building together serve as public resources and community spaces at the Pôle culturel.
Design That Inspires a Community
The cultural center in Chambly is now a renowned structure in the region, admired by the community for its clean, contemporary style and visual impact. It was officially inaugurated in 2019. But for its construction in 2016, the city of Chambly hosted an architectural competition, and the collaborative design project submitted by Atelier TAG and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte (JLP) was selected.
Vincent Lévesque was contracted as Urban Infrastructure Foreman for JLP, and he oversaw the exterior design for the project. He was met with the challenge of providing a sustainable, but beautiful design solution for the parking areas and entrance to the Library.
For the last five years, Mr. Lévesque has worked in the city of Chambly as Manager and Urban Infrastructure Foreman, and he oversees public works and services for the area. Chambly’s cold Canadian winter climate often requires a great deal of snow removal and rainwater management, which can make hardscaping design a challenge.
This exterior design project required a few unique hardscaping solutions that could:
Stand up to harsh weather conditions
Be designed as a parking lot and pathway for the visiting public
Provide water drainage without overloading the existing sewer networks
Fit the city’s regulations and design requirements for the cultural center
A Demand for Distinction and Durability
The architectural team was on the hunt for hardscaping materials that would function in a few ways. The design would have to meet the community’s needs for a safe walking space and durable parking pavement, but it shouldn’t detract from the beauty of the cultural center’s impressive design.
They needed a self-draining parking surface material that fit the library’s aesthetic and wouldn’t contribute to an urban heat island effect; they also wanted a product that came in a variety of colors to help demarcate parking spaces and pedestrian areas within the design.
The products used would also have to stand out. The design project for the Pôle culturel de Chambly was distinctive and awe-inspiring, so the pavers at the entrance of the building would need to make an equally positive impression on visitors.
Mr. Lévesque had used Techo-Bloc products previously — he’d built several other parking lots with the pavers. He knew that they’d provide a solution that would fit the library’s aesthetic and allow for efficient drainage where it was needed. After much consideration, he chose Techo-Bloc’s Diamond and Hydra pavers for the design.
Because they come in a variety of colors, including customized options, the Hydra pavers helped to create a visual distinction between parking spaces and pathways for visitors to the Chambly Public Library.
Mr. Lévesque used Hydra in a custom onyx color that allowed him to define parking spaces and a crosswalk to help direct the flow of traffic. Using pavers instead of traditional paint on asphalt provides a longer-lasting solution for the city as the lines will be visible for the lifetime of the pavers (up to 50 years), instead of paint’s projected lifespan of one to four years.
Techo-Bloc’s Diamond pavers were used for the entry and walkway around the library. These stylish, geometrically-shaped pavers offer architects plenty of flexibility when it comes to outdoor design, and help to create impressive, dynamic exterior spaces.
These modern-looking pavers look sleek in any space they’re installed and helped to enhance the Chambly project successfully.
The permeable paver system from Techo-Bloc avoids overloading the area’s water drainage network as water goes through the stone layers and filters the sediment. With the pavers selected, excess water is directed towards the existing French drain once a rain episode ends.
During the winter, Techo-Bloc’s permeable paver system performs more successfully than asphalt. The technology meets requirements for harsh Canadian winters: Techo-Bloc’s permeable system is especially adept at preventing freezing and frost. It allows snow or ice melt to soak through, instead of freezing, which mitigates the overuse of de-icing salts and reduces the chance of black ice forming.
The city of Chambly now has Teflon snowplows, which will extend the life of the pavers and keep their project looking newer longer. And Techo-Bloc’s product warranty helps to ensure the life of the design as it covers the deterioration of the pavers from rock salt.
An important feature of Techo-Bloc pavers is their sustainability and environmentally-responsible solutions. The use of Techo-Bloc pavers can help architects achieve LEED credits on their commercial projects in several different categories.
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