The new Wallsend District Library building is designed to act as a seed or focus for the growth of a sustainable community for Wallsend. It provides exhibition, meeting, library and childcare facilities and links them to the neighbouring Wallsend Plaza Shopping Centre across the street. Since the new Library opened in May 2006 the building has created a large amount of public and industry interest. It also won all major awards for Design, Excellence, Civic Design and Sustainable Design at the Hunter Civic Design Awards for 2006.
The design was evolved to create an open, light and light filled internal space, that provided a range of exciting locations for various facilities, and uses, that could be accessed individually as separate addresses within a single simple structure. The form of the building is created from two curved pavillions that are linked by a central linear atrium. The curves of the building flow from its curved sheet frontage Each pavillion has a ‘skillion roof’ sloping down towards two large 1.5m high ‘v shaped’ curved steel box gutters that define the central linear spine of the building.
The building’s site runs north/south along the curved sheet frontage; the Wallsend Plaza located behind a large open carpark occupies the opposite frontage. A central walkway ‘spears out’ from the retail centre towards the new Library. To the north, south and behind the site to the west lie a range of single storey residential scale cottages and a stormwater floor line bisects the site.
The sites flood level required a floor level that was elevated about 1.5m above the ground, this was used to create a large podium for the building with a larger curved flight of steps running almost the full frontage of the building. The podium continues the level of surrounding residential boundary fences forming a base above which rises the high glazed façade of the building to create a form with a more civic scale responding to the intersection of the curved street with the new pedestrian cross axis.
The line of the Plaza’s walkway was continued as a cross axis over the road with a new pedestrian crossing and then as the line of the buildings entry.
The intersection of this axis and the central atrium positioned the main public service desk and defined a quadrant of the building, which became the exhibition and meeting rooms