A MOVEABLE FEAST
With facilities missing from social infrastructure in this part of the Municipality, we were commissioned as architects by Strathfield Council in Inner Western Sydney to design, document & assist in the construction phases of this building through to completion.
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, surrounding residential properties & aspect/orientation, were critical factors when analysing 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 but slowly gentryfing, post-war residential area.
The building harvests rainwater to be used for toilets and irrigation, has abundant filtered natural light, uses low energy lighting throughout and is judiciously cross-ventilated. The air-conditioning system is designed to only operate when required and has a simple control interface to permit ease of use by staff.
A Moveable Feast….. While under construction however, undercurrents within Council and in 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 evolving 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 as well as retrofit the required IT technology of a modern library.
Outcome : The resultant multi-function facility is now welcomed as a valuable addition to community life in the area as a library, community hub and increasingly, as a de facto Art Gallery.
The project featured on the front cover of BCI Australia Magazine http://arenadesign.com.au/portfolio/media-publications/
High Street Community Library : Strathfield
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