Designs for new library unveiled

Guelph Public Library Board approves moving ahead with detailed design

Guelph, Ont., October 12, 2021 – The Guelph Public Library Board of Directors has approved the schematic design for the new Central Library recently presented by Diamond Schmitt Architects, including interior and exterior renderings. The new library is part of the Baker District redevelopment project, a collaborative partnership between the City of Guelph and Windmill Development Group.

The schematic design is a drawing that illustrates the basic elements and layout of the proposed library design. This design will now be refined and finalized through subsequent design phases.

Natural light and open spaces key features of interior

The approved schematic design for the new library was informed by input gathered over two years of community engagement and addresses the broad range of needs identified by people in Guelph including naturally lit open and private meeting spaces with connections for audio and video sharing, a cutting-edge makerspace with technology available to all, catering amenities, space for the Library’s significant archives collection and a place for people to gather, celebrate, listen, read and learn.

Inside-outside connection brings street to life

The library’s exterior design features an expressive roof form that exposes third-floor collections and reading rooms to glare-free natural northern light, and delicate east and west facades that protect outdoor reading terraces while allowing dappled light to enter indoor collection areas.

Also included in the design is a highly transparent ground floor that blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space and brings life to the street-level through a highly animated children’s area which can be seen from the public square and surrounding street network.

Detailed design is now underway with construction expected to start in late 2023. More designs will be shared as they are developed.


“We’re really impressed by the thoughtful and creative design that Diamond Schmitt Architects have developed for our new Central Library. As a Guelphite himself, Duncan Bates has led the design of a building that fits Guelph’s distinctive identity and incorporates the desires of our community as heard throughout the extensive engagement we did. We’re very excited to move onto detailed design and start building this community gathering space.” — Steve Kraft, Chief Executive Officer, Guelph Public Library

“Understanding the vision for the Baker District redevelopment and based on community input we’ve designed a striking, contemporary building that draws on the history of Guelph, and at the same time, catapults us into the future. This new library will provide tremendous social and economic benefits to the broader community of Guelph and the downtown neighbourhood.” — Duncan Bates, Associate, Diamond Schmitt Architects

“The stunning library design from Diamond Schmitt Architects does well to meet the objectives of excellent urban design, making connections at multiple scales: between people and places, buildings and streets, movement and built form, natural heritage and built environment. The end result here is the creation of a welcoming destination that will add to the vibrancy of our beautiful downtown and our sense of place.” — Jayne Holmes, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services, City of Guelph

About the Baker District redevelopment

The City and Windmill Developments are transforming the existing Baker Street municipal parking lot and adjacent properties into a vibrant district nestled in Guelph’s historic core that will create a renewed area of activity, commerce and civic space for the local community and city.

This welcoming and publicly accessible integrated civic hub—known as the Baker District—is anchored by a new central Guelph Public Library and includes outdoor urban squares, residential units, commercial space and public parking.

As a landmark city-building initiative, the Baker District redevelopment further revitalizes Guelph’s downtown and—by extension—improves the entire city’s economic and social prosperity.

The Baker District redevelopment project supports multiple priorities of the City’s strategic plan, Guelph. Future Ready.:

  • Sustaining Our Future through net-zero carbon targets
  • Powering Our Future through helping to grow downtown business and the local economy
  • Building our Future through the inclusion of affordable housing
  • Working Together for Our Future through innovation and strategic partnerships

The redevelopment also supports the themes of Guelph’s Community Plan to love where we live, protect our environment, create value, and play and explore.


New central Guelph Public Library design images

Baker District redevelopment project page
Community engagement summary

Media contacts

Baker District redevelopment

Stephen Gazzola, Project Manager
Facilities and Energy Management
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3886
[email protected]

Guelph Public Library

Steve Kraft, Chief Executive Officer
Guelph Public Library
519-824-6220 extension 224
[email protected]