New library responds to its community and surroundings.

The new Rockdale Library combines advanced check-out technologies with light filled interiors that offer myriad visual references to the local environment

Trees of learning  any child would gravitate institution, interior design, library, product, public library
Trees of learning any child would gravitate to this librarys evocative reading forest where even the recesses of the book alcoves come alive with monkeys and other animals peaking out from forest-themed wallpaper.

Faced with the competing fancy lights of smart phones and gaming consoles, today's public library has to work hard at its role as a fertile ground for information and education dissemination. There are high-tech pluses, such as self-serve kiosks, but the real attraction is also an old one community heart.

Coordinator library and community information services at Bayside Council Paula Pfoeffer sums up what was required for the new Rockdale Library.

"Bayside Council wanted a library which promotes the concepts of exploration, discovery, learning and reading; an innovative space with new technologies enabling visitors to self-manage accounts, freeing staff to spend more time on learning programs grounded in community need."

In the Rockdale Librarys Local History room, spotted architecture, ceiling, interior design, lobby, black, gray
In the Rockdale Librarys Local History room, spotted gum panels and battens create an appealing display configuration, interrupted by carved out portals.

Or to put it another way, the design had to open its arms to the community on every level and not get bogged down in time-wasting administration.

And every aspect of the new Rockdale Library does just that. The interior design, by CK Design International with Cecilia Kugler as lead designer, references the rich history of the area throughout, offers welcoming, light-filled spaces and creates a children's area which is nothing short of magical.

Entry to the library is an early example of its beckoning, community-oriented interior design. This takes the form of a three level-high internal street connecting the busy Princes Highway out front with a rear laneway. The exterior wall of the historic adjacent red-brick town hall becomes the interior wall of this street, broken up visually and for acoustic purposes by large-scale black and white photographs of a local park. Travelling through this open space provides orientation, scale and different viewing platforms to the life inside the library.

:Located next to the 1940s Rockdale Town Hall, architecture, building, car, city, cityscape, downtown, evening, house, infrastructure, light, lighting, metropolis, metropolitan area, mixed use, night, residential area, road, sky, street, street light, structure, town, urban area, black
:Located next to the 1940s Rockdale Town Hall, the new Rockdale Library had to be sympathetic with the character of the town hall while creating its own distinct image. The terracotta-clad fire escape towers on the left reference Rockdale Town Halls brick colour and clock tower seen far right.

There is also a narrow three-storey atrium at the other side of the library and the upper floors are set back from the front facade, letting even more light in.

"In planning it was important to create zones with their own character whilst belonging to a greater overall identity," says Kugler. "Many elements play on place, materials, and local identity."

Credit list

Rockdale Library
Kane Construction
Quantity surveyor
Facade design
Brewster Hjorth Architects
Carpet by Interface; tiles by Rocks On
Wall-hung photographic artworks
Stefan Trajkovski
Satelight and Yellow Goat
Workstations/meeting tables
Bevisco, Thinking Ergonomix
CK Design International in association with Leffler Simmes Architects and heritage architect Stevenson and Turner International
Mechanical and electrical engineer
Simpson Kotzman
Cladding and roof
Colorbond in Surf Mist
Off-form concrete
Wall Candy Paper; Muffin & Mani
International Dulux
Kubis, Schiavello, Interstudio, UCI, Café Culture, Stylecraft, Chairbiz, Zenith, Nineto Armchairs, NorvaNivel, Living Edge
Library shelving

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Stefan Trajkovski

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