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    Centenary Library: New building activates an old heritage site

    QLD

    From the architect: 

    The Centenary Library at Churchie is the most significant project undertaken in the Brisbane school’s 105-year history. The library activates the heritage-listed portion of the site by creating a space for the future.

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    Respect to the school’s archetype of red brick, steep tiled roofs, ornate detailing and cream capping, seamlessly integrates the Centenary Library with adjacent heritage buildings and wider campus. The deep and detailed brick façade stands sentinel to the modern internal glass ‘cube’; a testament that the past and future can coexist in the present. The result is a timeless iconic building that activates the footpath edge to enrich the urban experience.

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    The educational brief redefined the library’s role as the ‘heart-of-the-school’ during a time when many are questioning the importance and purpose of school libraries. The resulting space functions like a tertiary library, through a service-orientation that extends learning beyond the traditional school day and connects students, teachers, parents, alumni and the broader community.

    With the Centenary Library as the critical strategic masterplan building, iterative evaluation of modest refurbishments identified those designs, materials, and technologies that worked within the Churchie context. The evaluation process developed both teacher environmental competency and the built pedagogies of different learning environments.

    Through its occupation, the Centenary Library exceeds its brief. Longitudinal post-occupancy evaluation suggests it has indeed become the ‘heart-of-the-school’ at Churchie. The average occupancy rate of 61 percent percent indicates substantial daily student inhabitation. The previous library was a space for English and the Humanities; now its curriculum foot map extends to use across all subjects.

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    Provision of academic, café, pastoral and technological services into the evening and on Sundays also engages the day/boarding students, teachers, parent and broader communities.

    The Centenary Library’s success has provided the grounds for the creation of the Churchie Research Centre within the library, connecting Churchie with leading Australian and international Universities.

    Key Info

    Architect: BSPN Architecture

    Photography: Christopher Frederick Jones

    Completion date: 2017

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