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Cornish Library exterior
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Cornish Library Heritage Renovation

Project Description

The addition of the reading room to the southwest façade showcases an intimate reading area and provides visible access to the main library area. In keeping with the buildings historic design, CPI used natural oak floors and full-wrap windows supported by a single concrete column. The space will house get-togethers as well as provide extra reading space.

Accessibility issues were solved by the addition of a subtle front ramp and neatly integrated elevator and universal washroom. Located in downtown Winnipeg, the renovations made all areas completely accessible while also providing new lounge spaces, accessible washrooms, a 24-hour book return, a children’s ‘family literacy playground’ and redesigned computer areas.

In addition to the all-glass addition, the renovation involved considerable asbestos plaster abatement, duct cleaning and repair, new structural steel and steel joist roof framing, new foundation and full mechanical and electrical installations to tie into the existing facility.

The Cornish Library was built in 1915 as a part of the Andrew Carnegie library program. Books and libraries were important to Carnegie from his early childhood and providing grants to build community libraries around the world were the best-known expression of his goals. The Cornish Library overlooks a bike path connecting commuters from Wolseley to Armstrong Point and serves a diverse community.

The project involved extensive interior renovations within the existing building and approval had to be obtained from Heritage Winnipeg before refreshing and preserving original woodwork or replacing it entirely. By working with subtrades and suppliers to use materials and methods, CPI was able to maintain the character of the building. That included burgundy paint on the original wainscotting to match archival photos.

Part of our safety commitment is ensuring any lead, asbestos, and/or mold found during construction is removed and disposed of properly. The amount of lead and asbestos was significant, and CPI stopped work on the project to allow for proper abatement.

Built during the COVID-19 pandemic, CPI worked closely with all stakeholders to form site-specific guidelines, and regular meetings between the project team and all stakeholders were held. Strict COVID-19 protocols were implemented at the onset of the pandemic and we worked with consultants and suppliers to find alternate materials and equipment to deal with supply chain issues.

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