Ontario Wood WORKS! 2017 Wood Design Award winner: Story Pod

The ‘Story Pod’ is a community-supported, 64 square foot library situated in downtown Newmarket. Placed on the edge of a prominent, recently completed civic square, the wooden pod follows the municipality’s plan to use contemporary eco-friendly design as a means of creating a lively, innovative public hub for community exchange. Proponents in this successful public-private partnership were the Town of Newmarket, HollisWealth, Scholastic, the Newmarket Public Library and AKB Architects.


During the day, two entirely wood clad walls pivot open, encouraging people to come inside or to gather around the front. In this transformative process, the dark wood exterior gives way to a carefully detailed interior clad in warm, marine grade veneer plywood, containing a full wall of books and various levels of built-in seating. With both walls fully open the pod extends itself outward beyond its compact footprint, engaging individual visitors to take or leave a book, while it also supports larger gatherings and collective reading sessions with groups of students and teachers.

At night, with the doors closed, recessed, energy efficient LED lights, powered by concealed rooftop solar panels, glow through the exterior wooden battens, providing ambience for night markets and community events. During the winter months, the pod is stored off-site; steel channels recessed into the base accommodate a standard forklift for efficient transportation.

Story Pod is one of the 12 winners of the Ontario Wood WORKS! 2017 Wood Design Award. The awards programme honours people and organisations that are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction. 

Award: Ontario Wood Award

Photography: Shai Gil, Bob Gundu

Text: Ontario Wood WORKS! program

Architect: Atelier Kastelic Buffey Inc.