Designed for the future, the Whangaparaoa Public Library provides a growing township with its first civic building

view of the computer area in the library institution, interior design, library, library science, organization, public library, gray
view of the computer area in the library

A burgeoning population can strain the infrastructure of any community. Starting with a clean slate, however, has given one council an opportunity to integrate sustainability and environmental solutions into its civic building design.

Given a green brief by the Rodney District Council for the design of the first civic building in Whangaparaoa, architects Warren and Mahoney collaborated with service and structural engineers from the outset, as well as the council, to create a concept and design for this public library, says design director John Coop.

"Rodney District Council is leading the way in commissioning energy efficient buildings. By integrating the analysis and research of engineers and architects from the start, we were able to better address sustainability and environmental concerns."

The architectural background of council project manager Vincent Mullins also increased communication and understanding, says Coop.

The library is stage one of a development plan. The next stage is the construction of a main street and a public plaza.

Once mainly populated by retirees and bach owners, Whangaparaoa might now be better described as one of Auckland's bedroom suburbs, with thousands commuting to work in the city, yet living locally.

view of the library featuring double glazed windows architecture, arecales, building, facade, home, house, palm tree, real estate, reflection, sky, window, black, brown
view of the library featuring double glazed windows and double skin concrete block walls

"In an area dominated by the car, this project stands in stark contrast to the typical strips of cheap, commercial buildings. This structure needed to be durable, environmentally friendly, timeless and an anchor in people's lives just as community halls have been in past years," says Coop.

Another consideration was that it provides good bones for integration of technology. To this end large, flexible spaces that allow for changing technology were incorporated.

As modern libraries are often social hubs, this 1500m² structure incorporates a community meeting room, accommodation for Plunket, and art spaces. As a social place, it was essential that the library have an accessible, welcoming and comfortable environment.

Coop says an important aspect of the project was promoting community ownership. To further the connection with the community, three local artists were commissioned at an early stage of the design process, enabling them to get a feel for the project and see it evolve.

There are three dedicated art spaces two wall spaces inside and a light sculpture in the sheltered courtyard reading area, by Peter Stoneham from Virtualight.

With summer heat and humidity primary concerns, the design team looked at energy efficient ways to make the building comfortable.

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view of the repeating glass boxes that provide visible reading area , whilst louvres protect from the direct sunlight

One solution involved the redistribution of air throughout the building. The library has double-skin walls that form a cavity. Cool air, sucked from the underground car park, is ducted throughout the building at night, thus pre-cooling the building for the following day.

"With humid conditions it wasn't possible to fully remove air conditioning. However, the hybrid ventilation system controls the amount of fully chilled air used. The building uses energy, but it uses it wisely."

An underfloor heating system allows cool or warm water, heated by an energyefficient heat pump, to circulate. Double glazing and shading by automated louvres will also reduce energy consumption.

"The exterior glazing is integrated into the roof structure in a series of skylights that allow daylight to penetrate to the core of the building," says Coop.

Two 20,000 litre underground tanks allow all storm water flowing off site to be effectively managed, easing effects on other community infrastructure during periods of heavy rain.

Credit list

Construction company
Gibson O’Connor
Mechanical and electrical engineer
Thurston Consulting and Lincolne Scott
Geotechnic engineer
Tonkin & Taylor
Security consultant
Batchelor & Associates
Long Run roofing from Dimond
Window and door joinery
Country Tiles
Gib Board
Thorn; Philips; ECC; Rexel; Concept; Targetti; Virtualight; Stanlite
Heating and air conditioning
Modern Signs; Speedy’s Signs
Art work/ sculpture
Peter Stoneham from Virtualight, Jacqueline Oust, Peter Oxborough, Lindsey Kirk
Civil and structural engineer
Structure Design
Quantity surveyor
Dean Murray & Partners
Boffa Miskell
Honed concrete block from Stevenson
Facade design
Clear and Evergreen glass from Metro Glass; silver anodised aluminium louvres from Louvretec
Wilson & McIndoe
Carpet tiles from Ontera; broad loam carpet from Cavalier Bremworth
Ribbed Acoustic Ceiling Tiles from Daiken
Security systems
Advanced Security Group
Graphic Design
At Design

Story by: Trendsideas

12 Apr, 2006

Carpets & Rugs