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    Fjmt revitalises Bankstown Civic precinct with new library

    Nathan Johnson

    A tactful approach to a thorough brief has seen the new Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre become an important part of a revitalised Bankstown Civic precinct.

    Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp architects (fjmt) were briefed by Bankstown City Council to create a sustainable, high quality building of distinctive architectural character and a landscaped public space to foster a sense of community within the Bankstown civic precinct.

    In response, two options immediately came to mind for the architects; an adaptive reuse of the existing building or a complete demolish and rebuild. They went with neither.

    After further thought the architects adopted a hybrid approach which saw them sensitively modify and realign the existing building with salvaged materials to meet the brief deliverables.

    The existing auditorium and related podium were the major demolitions of the project while the southern line of the existing building line was expanded and the new library volume shifted forward.

    This approach afforded space for a new podium forecourt which the architects say defines the public domain and creates a sense of place for the library visitors.

    An integrated, inclusive and flexible space was achieved by fjmt, materialised in a new library over three levels, a three-hundred seat theatre, community conference facilities, new cafe and community information wall.

    The refurbished Paul Keating Park (adjacent), an aquatic sculpture garden and new street trees add aesthetic elements and meet the call for an improved landscape for public use.

    Bankstown City Council Mayor, Khal Asfour attributes the new library surrounding facilities upgrade to an increase of 31,000 visitors so far this year. The Bankstown City Council website also notes; “It seems local residents and visitors alike have caught the reading and knowledge bug, with an amazing 86,473 people attending the Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre in the first two months of operation”. 

    Located in the heart of Bankstown, the fjmt development serves to revitalise a dislocated site and create an interactive public domain facility for community members and visitors.

    For more library projects see our list of best new libraries for 2014 . It's a crowd sourced list so be sure to contribute a project you like.

    See the project in detail here:

    Images: Supplied

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