Light-Gauge Steel Framing (British Columbia)

City Centre Library

Photo courtesy of NWCB
A unique curved and sloped balustrade is the centerpiece of the library’s lobby.

Location: Surrey

Contractor: Gallagher Brothers Contractors

Architect: Bing Thom Architects

Team: BC Ceiling Systems, Kenroc Building Materials, Bailey West, CGC Inc.

A one-off curved and sloped balustrade is the showpiece of the recently completed City Centre Library in Surrey. Gallagher Brothers Contractors constructed that balustrade on a fast-track schedule.

The $36 million library has 77,000 square feet on four floors — three times the size of the old library. It is made of concrete and glass with outward-sloping walls.

Inspired by the curvature of the adjacent University Drive, the design was made possible through the use of BIM software, which ensured that the concrete formwork was efficient and easy to construct.

The plaster balustrade runs throughout the building in locations often difficult to access. Rising from grade to level four, the balustrade was constructed with sloping and curving structural steel stud/tracks in 20- to 16-gauge thicknesses. It was plastered with an Ultra-Fill base coat and completed as a Level 5 finish.

Gallagher Brothers transposed points from CAD drawings supplied by the architect to build the frame, walls and balustrade to meet the sloping form. Lang Structural Engineering provided the structural steel design.

Another challenge for the wall and ceiling contractor was around the elliptical skylight, which is a cone-like space designed to allow as much natural light as possible into the building and reflect off walls in different directions. The skylight is curved out and has a section sloping to a smaller ellipsis offset at the top.

Judges’ comment: “In keeping with the modernistic style of Central Surrey, the city has placed a breathtaking building at the heart of the city in its new Surrey Library. The complexity of the staircase which forms the centerpiece of the lobby was skillfully constructed by the winning contractor Gallagher Brothers Contracting.”

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