Back in February, Hamilton Wilson of Wilson Architects described
design focus needed for contemporary education architecture, one that re-engaged
students to participate in flexible learning environments through built form.
In 2014 we have seen a number of completed library buildings
by Australian architects that endeavour to connect students back to the
learning community that the library has traditionally inspired.
Here are nine of this year’s best library projects by
Emerald Hill Library
& Heritage Centre, Victoria by Paul Morgan Architects
The project involved the refurbishment and extension of the
existing 1912 Beaux-Arts former Post Office. The brief for the project included
expanded library spaces, children’s area, heritage centre, program spaces and
outdoor play area.
- Bricks from both the original Beaux Arts
building and the 1970s addition were reclaimed from demolition and re-used in
construction for new walls and a sub-floor labyrinth.
- Sub-floor brick labyrinth tempers air for
- Occupancy sensors for equipment (including
lights, A/V and HVAC).
- Harvested rainwater used in garden irrigation
and toilet flushing, and to minimise stormwater runoff from this largely
- Hot water is gas boosted solar hot water to
effectively minimise energy use.
- All engineered wood products are certified E0 or
better in terms of formaldehyde content.
Development Package - Kununurra Community Library, Western Australia by Bateman
The $8.4 million Kununurra Community Library was designed for the joint use of
the high school and Kununurra community and is located within the high school
site on the corner of Coolibah Drive and Mangaloo Street.
- Strip windows extending the full length of the
street elevation terminate in full height windows which wrap the corner into
- Heavily insulated walls and roofs and shaded windows
to minimise energy consumption.
- Robust and durable internal finishes.
- Ethical furniture selections and products
featuring recycle-able and/or recycled content.
- Moulded Polypropylene furniture for easy maintenance
and wipe-able surface without need for harsh cleaning chemicals.
- Fabrics composed of recycled content – such as
recycled wool and recycled polyester blends — were selected for the soft furnishings.
- Low VOC and heavy metal free finishes were utilised
Melton Library and Learning Hub, Victoria by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp
The brief was to provide a new contemporary library and
community hub for the local community. Featuring a double height reading space,
multiple community meeting, theatrette and multi-purpose training spaces, the
project has a high environmental agenda and will provide a new central civic
space for the people of Melton.
- First Library in Australia to achieve a Green
Building Council of Australia Green star Rating, (5 Star Design Rating under
the Public Building Pilot Tool).
- The project achieved 70 points (five points shy
of a 6 star rating), with environmental initiatives spread across all
- 95 per cent of the timber utilised was sourced
from sustainable forestry and production processes and all engineered timber
was E0 formaldehyde rated.
- All indoor pollutants were minimised for
all materials selected including paints, glues, sealants, vinyls and carpets.
- Other ESD characteristics include passive solar
design, maximised daylighting, high thermally performing facade and glazing
systems taking advantage of the thermal resistance characteristics of the
glue-laminated support framing. Under
floor displacement air conditioning systems throughout provide increased
outside clean air supply which reduces energy footprint. Rainwater recycling
for irrigation and toilet and urinal flushing and 80 m2 of photovoltaic help
offset the energy consumption of the building.
Victoria by Sally Draper Architects in association with Mitsuori Architects
Understanding of Williamstown as a unique place within
Melbourne characterised by a strong sense of identity and community informed
the design. It is contemplated not as a stand-alone building but as an integral
part of its urban context.
The library is conceived as two interlinked components. A
softly curved translucent structure houses a double height reading room, whilst
the ancillary spaces are within a rectilinear, bluestone wall. The bluestone is
punctured by a series of deeply set openings acting as a threshold or filter
between the cultural realm of the Town Hall precinct and the commercial areas
to the east.
- Incorporated HVAC system designed to work
seamlessly with the spaces and architecture of the building to minimise energy consumption.
- A sub-floor labyrinth covers the entire
footprint of the building and takes in outdoor air below deck level and filters
it into the occupied spaces, providing passive cooling for much of the
- High level extract vents in the main reading
room combined with automated windows in the building spine serve to draw air
from the plenum through the occupied spaces and provide natural cooling and
ventilation to all areas within the building.
- VRV system utilise the sub-floor space for
distribution of conditioned air into the building while dampers in the
sub-floor plenum close as the temperature rises. During cooler months when
natural ventilation is not possible, heating is achieved through the use of
hydronic in slab heating in the main reading room and supplementary air based
heating in the ancillary spaces. The hydronic system warms the indoor air for
the most part and is boosted when required by the VRV system.
St Joseph's Nudgee
Junior College Library, Queensland by Fulton Trotter Architects
The St Joseph’s Nudgee Junior includes two wings housing
teaching and staff spaces with a library space between.
The wings reference the east west planning and strong brick
forms of the original building, while the library space acts as a negative
space between linking western play spaces to the river on the east.
Its curved wall refers back to the original building’s
curved glass art deco verandas, as well as the more recent curved outdoor
teaching knuckle on the adjacent classroom building.
The east west configuration of the main teaching spaces and
staff spaces works well passively, along with generous overhangs and judicious
The high main library roof provides ample daylight to the library interior bot
controlled by wide overhangs and fritting to the upper glazing to reduce sky
- Rainwater is collected for irrigation and
- Stormwater is treated in a bio retention basin,
limiting polluted water entry to the adjacent river.
- The building uses VRV air-conditioning but
overhangs all round reduce heat load.
- Generally, low VOC paints are used to improve
- Old tennis courts on the site north of the
building were retained and resurfaced as play spaces.
- Existing trees were retained in both the
courtyard and northern play spaces.
College Library, QLD by Fulton Trotter Architects
The client’s brief was to create a space for their students to access their
digital library, undertake quiet study or complete small group work on the
ground floor, and a flexible space on the first floor that could be used for
teaching a single class through to holding school assemblies. The current
programming on the ground floor provides small library space and associated
librarian station and two small learning group rooms.
- Louvre windows provide cross ventilation and a
large open area. They play a large role in helping natural lighting be filtered
throughout the space and limiting artificial lighting.
- Rainwater tanks are used for water use on site
due to there being no town water. Toilets are connected to an onsite sewer
treatment plant due to no connection to town sewerage.
- No fill was removed from site which resulted in
an equal cut and fill.
College Library, Queensland by Fulton Trotter Architects
The Faith Lutheran College Library completes the central ‘Information Hub’
precinct of the campus master plan. Sited adjacent to the recently constructed
Language Centre, the connection between the two buildings was an important
aspect of the brief, with external communal areas creating an expanse of
high-volumed shaded spaces.
The exterior spaces are lined with high level timber battening to produce
shadows and welcome breezes in-between the two solid building forms. The
interior Reading Room is separated from the exterior by two full height glazed
walls at either end, with sliding panels of glass at low level to create a
seamless transition from inside to out. Two building forms of lower height rest
against the central Reading Room, one comprising the main entry, loans and
staff areas, and the other, two General Learning Areas and a Senior Study
- Operable glazed wall panels offer natural
ventilation at either end of Reading Room and high level louvres increase air
- Large overhangs and high level roof provide
shade to facades and surrounding areas during the summer, whilst allowing sun
penetration in colder months.
- High level roofed structures and gardens between
solid building forms promote shady, breezy corridors during warmer months.
- Thermal insulation which exceeds minimum BCA
standard requirements has been installed throughout. Tinted reflective glazing
assists with heat reflection.
The flexible floor plan with minimal fixed furniture allows for the spaces to
be appropriated as users see fit.
Library and CCYC, Queensland by Complete Urban and Lahznimmo Architects in
of Gold Coast engaged Complete Urban and Lahznimmo Architects to design the
Helensvale Branch Library and Community Cultural Youth Centre (CCYC) in early
2010. The new facility replaces an existing library and includes a 2,400sqm
library and a 1,500sqm youth centre, along with a regional council shop front
and Councillor’s offices.
This is a new type of facility for the council that combines both a library and
youth centre in a single project. The design wraps the functions around a
shared indoor plaza called the ‘Neighbourhood Room’, which is a naturally
ventilated and lit space and the focus of the new building. It acts as an entry
and address for each of the building functions, as well as vertically linking
the three levels. Along one side of the outdoor plaza artist Belinda Smith has
created ‘Faraway, Here’, a ceramic art wall that draws on analogies of open
books and birds in flight.
- Mixed mode air-conditioning within the library
allows the air-conditioning to be turned off when conditions are favourable.
- Louvred windows and high level clerestories with
motorized actuators are controlled by the building BMS, which monitors the
- Large low velocity ceiling fans supplement air
movement and assist in creating a comfortable internal environment.
- The Neighbourhood Room is fully naturally
ventilated and lit, with large low velocity ceiling fans to supplement air
- Hot water is supplied by roof top solar
- Rainwater is collected in underground tanks
within the car park and re-used.
- A bio-retention basin at the northern end cleans
excess stormwater from the site before entering the stormwater system.
- Reduced car parking numbers reduced the building
costs and excavation needs and minimise the urban impact of car parking.
College, Queensland by Tony Madden Architects
The College requested a building that embodies the school vision, principles and
mission statements, and allowed for a space that was simple, clear and
transparent. Students are free to enter and leave the Library without the need
for security protocols.
Clearly defined spaces cater for individual needs in terms
of gathering information, with group study rooms for quiet study as well as
open study areas and a lounge for a more informal and relaxed study
- The building’s annual energy consumption was
simulated using Energy Plus software in accordance with the requirements of
Verification Method JV3.
- The proposed building modelled with proposed
building fabric and proposed services achieved an energy consumption of
25,375kwh/annum. The reference building set a target of 5,517kwh/annum.
- Polycarbonate screens on the north westerly façade
provide sun-screening while remaining trees and buildings on site allowed for
the screens to start at a higher level and thus allow for clear views to the
student hub area.
- The use of VRV systems for air conditioning as
well as individual controls to the various spaces in the facility enables
efficient use of the air conditioning system.
- Provision of fans and motorised high level louvres
allows for natural ventilation and air flow when required.
- The use of rainwater tanks for provision of
water supply to toilets as well as irrigation when needed.
Source: The Australian Institute of Architects.
Photographers in order of project: Peter Benetts, Robert Frith, Trevor Mein, Trevor Mein, John Mills, Angus Martin, Angus Martin, John Mills and Ricky England Phorography.