The Corso Library, North Lakes
Library Planning and Design Consultant to PDT architects.
The Public Library has become a meeting place between the virtual and physical realms of modern society. In modern life we have multiple layers and levels of interaction with other people through a vast range of technologies and social platforms. However, our need as humans to interact and express ourselves and communicate with others is now even more pronounced. The contemporary Library is a venue, a site and a home for a growing range of events and activities which by the very nature of our growing community, changes rapidly.
In the schematic design stage of the project we focused the bigger picture, strategic issues which then informed the detailed planning and layout of library spaces.
- The library is arranged primarily on one level providing flexible, adaptable space and zonal planning.
- The library is located at street level creating an active street frontage with highly visible activities located at street edges. People are more likely to use the library if they can see other people doing the type of things they would like to do.
- The Library is welcoming and highly accessible; clearly visible from the street and directly accessed from active public space.
- By looking down into the Library from the Plaza level people can see the library as a whole; clear way-finding and easy navigation around the library promotes an enjoyable and stress-free user experience.
- A library foyer provides a gathering space outside the library, with can host events, exhibitions and discussions or story-telling but also creates a single, secure entry and exit to the library.
- As a highly visible and ‘overlooked’ space, the library will foster an environment of social awareness which will promote appropriate public behaviour.
- A centralised planning system where the book stacks are located in the middle of the plan and people and associated activities occupy the edges is an efficient, flexible and expandable planning model.
- The library provides a variety of spaces which will promote and foster a wide range of experiences for the library user and the entire community. Large and tall spaces can host a range of large scale events and activities and smaller, intimate spaces encourage small groups and individual learning. Broader learning comes through varied experience.
- The overall concept of office space located above the library, connected by stair and lift allows a valve for future expansion of the library. By decanting regional staff the library level additional public library space can be created, fairly inexpensively, as the community grows.
The over-riding aim was to create an exciting and stimulating environment that will engage the community and encourage regular and ongoing patronage. This was achieved through creating a broad range of spaces that are easy to access, fun to use and provide varied and unexpected experience. People like other people; people like watching other people. Through these simple activities we learn and develop ideas.
Training and bookable meeting spaces are incorporated with central table seating areas and booth seating for quiet study with a range of group study areas located on the perimeter of the library. The ‘back of house’ staff areas will have direct access to the basement loading and library delivery areas via lifts, dedicated hoist, and stair access. Staff facilities include group work and meeting spaces, toilets, lunch areas and a ‘break-out’ terrace.
The Corso Library was the first Australian local government building to achieve a 5 star Green Star Public Building rating. With a payback period of only eight years and greenhouse gas emissions reduced by up to 50% compared with similar buildings of a comparative size, this passively designed, major regional future-proofed asset showcases some of the latest sustainable technologies in a highly efficient, modern community focused asset.