The rejuvenated Library in Bairnsdale celebrates the social, cultural and environmental significance of the heritage asset.

From the preserved volume, material and detail of the 1889 Mechanicals Hall, to sculptural timber stairways, to CAD/CAM prefabricated exposed elegant joinery quality LVL structure; Sustainability is evident. An holistic design approach has reduced construction, operation and energy costs.

An innovative passive hydrothermal air conditioning provides pre-cooled air by thermal exchange.

This system utilises harvested stormwater below ground tanks, thermal chimneys and mass to passively moderate temperature.

Each material is approached with honesty, limiting secondary finishes and creating a montage of materials. This includes self-shading metal sheeting cladding, breathable BIONICTILE cladding which destroy harmful gases from car exhausts and internal exposed concrete floors and walls.

A high performance glazed facade lights up like a beacon in the evening, with high efficiency internal lighting and during the evening is lit up by the activity within.


  • Designed to enhance its social, cultural and streetscape significance in a regional centre
  • Existing urban usage patterns have been retained and amplified by transferring the traditional external circulation route between the street and a carpark zone to an internal route
  • Forecourt plaza provides a focus to and from the streetscape, providing a gathering place with an outdoor cinema and shelter / meeting place as focus to the plaza and street
  • Book shelves moveable so they can easily be relocated to the perimeter to reform the space as an open community hall
  • Meeting rooms, cafe public and private study places engage the public and links to extended community are provided through mobile library and inter-library borrowing
  • Holistic environmental design has reduced operation and energy costs and provides a warm aesthetic based on exposed plantation timber structures
  • Hybrid systems provide excellent thermal comfort and air quality.
  • Passive hydrothermal air conditioning, developed by NOWarchitecture provides fresh air pre-cooled by passive geothermal exchange to water stored in tanks below the plaza
  • Air flow is induced by hot, stale air rising to be expelled through thermal chimneys with clerestory windows
  • Air flow throughout the building is aided by the two storey Atrium space and the existing building is linked to the thermal chimney and ventilation system by connection at both levels
  • Composite slab floors, pre-cast concrete walls and existing triple brick wall structures provide thermal mass
  • Stormwater is harvested to 58,000L underground tank for recycling to toilets, cleaning and gardens
  • Retention of existing building has been maximised to maintain embodied energy and reduce the requirement for new structures
  • Engineered plantation FSC timber structure has reduced construction and environmental costs with dovetail style connections between joists and beams eliminating secondary fixing
  • Timber structure reduces environmental impact and provides a humane aesthetic throughout the building. Also reduced construction costs and celebrated and supported the local timber industry.
  • Two storey timber structure, constructed from prefabricated, CNC cut, HySpan LVL members provide a joinery quality structure which was left exposed as the major aesthetic element in the building and permitted elimination of expensive secondary finishes
  • Locally-sourced wormy chestnut provides bold touches; folding around the information counter and providing acoustic flourishes in the community room as a demonstration of the local timber industry
  • Radiata pine LVL columns are oversized to char protect the core material and achieve a 120 minute fire rating.
  • CAD/CAM prefabrication features such as self-locating, rigid joints and reduced member weight greatly increased the speed of construction and reduced construction costs.
  • Composite upper floors use plywood bracing as the aesthetic ceiling finish below while thin, aerated concrete flooring provides vibration and acoustic damping and thermal mass
  • High levels of natural light are provided by the low-U value (1.6) double glazed east facade which is shaded by a suspended self-cleaning external glass screen, and shaded north and south facing clerestories integrated into the thermal chimneys
  • West facing windows are minimised and deeply recessed for shading
  • White, heat reflective, self cleaning BionicTile(R) cladding neutralises polluting nitrogen oxides.
  • Thin ribbed colorbond cladding self-shades to reduce thermal load
  • Low energy lighting systems have occupancy and light sensing control systems and feature LED internal lighting also illuminates the external plaza for place making
  • All sealants and finishes are low VOC.