Project Specs

24,290 sq ft




$3.9 million

University of Manitoba Dafoe Library Learning Commons

The Elizabeth Dafoe Library is the University of Manitoba’s largest academic library, serving eight faculties, campus staff and the surrounding community. Originally constructed in 1952, the aging facility required an extensive physical and operational transformation to respond to an ever evolving library typology to effectively serve both students and faculty.

In 2008, the University of Manitoba began a feasibility study and extensive design process to renovate the main level interior of the existing library. The project presented a number of physical and logistical challenges for the planning and design process; multiple building vintages, asbestos laden materials, a tight structural grid, low ceilings, a loosely defined renovation boundary and a demanding five month construction schedule. Re-envisioned as a Learning Commons focused on student-centered learning in our digital age, the new floor plan reorganizes the space, improving both circulation and functionality. Enhanced library support services are consolidated, centralized and highly visible to promote student and staff interaction. Moveable, fully glazed partitions for enclosed areas provide security for materials and equipment; and flexibility for future reconfiguration. A variety of adaptable study/meeting spaces and the central reading lounge feature a combination of traditional table and chair layouts alongside easily reconfigurable, comfortable lounge furnishings for collaboration.

Officially opened in January of 2013 to campus-wide acclaim, the Elizabeth Dafoe Library Learning Commons is a dynamic and interactive learning environment, merging current trends in academic space planning with forward thinking technology to accommodate the diverse learning styles of its patrons.