The new Rockhampton City Library was built to create a substantial knowledge resource for the city and a focus for the planned redevelopment. The new vibrant, exciting and sophisticated centre links the original library (which has been converted to hold the City’s important archives) and the Heritage School of Arts Building. The new building houses an important Youth Library, Business support services and community meeting rooms as well as the Library’s substantial printed collection.
The new building has been designed as a simple ‘rural shed’ to maximise the size of the facility and deliver an impressive value for cost outcome. Although the building incorporates large roof lights the internal effect is of a dark, cool shelter giving respite form the oppressive heat and glare of the local environment.
The structure creates a large internal volume in which a free standing ‘sculptural’ mezzanine and service “pods” are positioned to define a range of flexible, open internal zones differentiated by colourful purpose designed graphic elements. The building structure and services are exposed and used to decorate and add scale to the internal space. Large iconic items are hung in the gallery-like spaces to refer to aspects of the City.
PUBLIC AND CULTURAL FRAMEWORK
The Civic Centre is located away from the active river-side, recently the area has suffered from a gradual shifting of focus to the new growth areas. The new building offers facilities for students, and unemployed as well as providing nurturing support services for start up businesses and the city’s youth.
RELATIONSHIP WITH BUILT FORM AND CONTEXT
The downtown civic precinct lies between the new commercial district of large boxes and the older residential zone of intricate “Queenslanders”. The new building takes and blends elements from both building types with complex detailed steelwork to its eastern facade relating to the enclosed verandahs of the old houses nearby.
The building program unifies the functions of the adjacent School of Arts and the original 1960’s Library. The connections to both set up the originating points for the buildings layout.
The new building successfully accommodates a large range of different functional and operational areas within an essentially open plan building. Uses range from Gallery display, Public Function Rooms, Commercial support facilities, IT Training labs, Youth library/centre, Reference Library and cafe as well as the normal library collection and study areas.
INTEGRATION OF ALLIED DISCIPLINES
The building design team included the full range of engineering and design consultants required for a Complex public structure. All consultants were engaged directly by BHA as Principal Design Consultant.
The building delivered an outstanding value for cost result with just over 2,500m2 costing approximately $7.5m.
RESPONSE TO CLIENT AND USER NEEDS
The new library has promoted a sophisticated and challenging architectural style which has been accepted wholeheartedly by an overwhelming number of the city’s library users. It has become the City’s most popular Civic building.