"The Waiheke Local Board envisaged the library being an anchor in the community a place where people would feel comfortable to come in to read books, study or to simply sit around. We also wanted to be able to use it as a venue for hosting local events."
To this end, the design team provided a strong connection between inside and out, with three sides of the library opening up to the outdoors.
"To help blur the line between indoors and outdoors we pulled the idea of the timber trunks and battens to the inside of the library as well," says Howard. "Plywood leaf canopies beneath skylights at the top of each trunk were replicated from photos of pohutukawa tree canopies. The same pattern appears on the exterior canopies."
Timber battens screen a behind-the-scenes work area, while still providing a sense of transparency. They also form the balustrading on stairs leading to a pirate's crows nest, which is a balcony where children can read or enact stories.
Another feature of the children's area is a white painted leafy screen that semi conceals a bench seat where children can hide away.
"There is a limited amount of built-in furniture in the library," says Howard. "It made more sense to keep shelving systems and desks loose and flexible so they can be moved easily in the future."
The undulating ceiling, in a colour inspired by the underside of a pohutukawa leaf, reinforces the natural look of the timber. The folds also help with the acoustics, dampening echoes.
Polished concrete flooring defines key circulation areas, and reinforces another visual theme from artist Kazu Nakagawa. His artwork, titled forty-nine letters, pays tribute to Waiheke's climate. The phrase Lots of rain, lots of sun, lots of wind, lots of day, lots of night is literally embedded into the fabric of the building it is written across the building with overlapping calligraphic script that forms a lyrical pattern of repeating text.