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    Design of new Helensvale Library and Youth Centre increased library attendance by 40 per cent

    Geraldine Chua

    Lahznimmo architects and Complete Urban in association have completed the Helensvale Cultural Community Youth Centre and Library, a new facility in the Gold Coast that combines a library and youth centre into a single project, along with a regional Council shop front and Councillor’s offices.

    According to the architects, the challenge was to find a strategy that would draw out the synergies between the two functions and have mutual benefit for both. The design wraps the functions around a shared indoor plaza called the ‘Neighbourhood Room’, which provides an extension from the adjacent public plaza.

    This 'room' is an un-programmed space that acts as entry and address for each of the building functions, whilst vertically linking the three levels. The lit space is naturally ventilated and the focus of the new building; a cool, shaded reprieve from the Queensland sun.

    Revitalising an aging and outdated library to meet the current needs of the community, the design has created a vibrant and well-used community hub.

    Photography by Brett Boardman

    The new site includes a 2,400m2 library, 1,500m2 Youth Centre and other public spaces. It also acts as a business and creative incubator, with facilities including a 200 seat auditorium, dance hall, recording studio, 3D printer, meeting spaces, recreational classes and organised activities for children and families.

    The project furthermore supports public art, with artist Belinda Smith’s ceramic art wall of gloss white titled ‘Faraway, Here’ featured on one side of the outdoor plaza leading into the Neighbourhood Room. The artwork draws on analogies of open books and birds in flight.

    Various sustainability initiatives are incorporated into the building, such as mixed mode air conditioning, louvred windows and low velocity ceiling fans to supplement air movement and assist in creating a comfortable internal environment.

    Roof top panels and rainwater collection tanks were also installed on site.

    Since the centre’s opening, there has been a reported 40 per cent increase in library attendance levels.

    Photography by John Mills

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