In this project we were commissioned by Strathfield Council in Inner Western Sydney to design a community building to provide facilities missing from local infrastructure in this part of the Municipality. The original accommodation brief consisted of a meeting hall and foyer, reception area, associated toilets, kitchen and storage areas. The site context, a local park with mature trees with surrounding residential properties, aspect & orientation, were critical factors when analyzing the site.
Early studies suggested the building be located on the northern edge of the park, facing north onto High Street with the most appropriate public exposure. The building mass was massaged to produce an appropriate scale in a strong dialogue with the park, with the triple textured precast concrete panels juxtaposed with hardwood fences & decking and “signal red” steelwork to produce an overall “classic with a twist” aesthetic.
An environmentally responsive building with a passive solar configuration and polished concrete floors providing thermal mass, results in a modern, iconic building in the context of a somewhat unremarkable post-war residential area. The building harvests rainwater used for toilets and irrigation, is well cross ventilated, has abundant natural light and uses low energy lighting throughout. During construction process however, undercurrents within council and the local Community generally, bubbled to the surface concerning the lack of a “library” provision.
After much re-briefing and re-assessment, we had the task of inserting a branch library function into this new shell. Fortunately, due to a long-life-loose-fit philosophy we use to ensure an element of flexibility, and with the invaluable input of Council’s library and managerial staff, we were able to successfully accommodate this retrofit requirement including a total fitout with joinery, furniture procurement and integrated signage & branding. The resultant multi-function facility is now welcomed as a valuable addition to community life in the area and additional upgrades to the park are now under consideration such as a new playground for which we have prepared concept drawings.
High Street Community Library Strathfield NSW
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