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New library responds to its community and surroundings.

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

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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."

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.

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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.

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."

First published date: 21 October 2016

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Credit List

Project Rockdale Library
Architects CK Design International in association with Leffler Simmes Architects and heritage architect Stevenson and Turner International Construction documentation Brewster Hjorth Architects. Interior design and documentation CK Design International Facade design Leffler Simmes Architects design Project management Bayside Council (Major Projects Team)
Construction Kane Construction
Mechanical and electrical engineer Simpson Kotzman
Quantity surveyor Bylett+Associates
Cladding and roof Colorbond in Surf Mist
Facade design Brewster Hjorth Architects
External balustrades 316 grade brushed stainless steel
Columns Off-form concrete
Flooring Carpet by Interface; tiles by Rocks On
Wallpaper Wall Candy Paper; Muffin & Mani
Wall-hung photographic artworks Stefan Trajkovski
Paints International Dulux Veneers Spotted gum from Briggs Veneer Heating/air conditioning Eagle Air Conditioning
Lighting Satelight and Yellow Goat
Furniture Kubis, Schiavello, Interstudio, UCI, Café Culture, Stylecraft, Chairbiz, Zenith, Nineto Armchairs, NorvaNivel, Living Edge
Workstations/meeting tables Bevisco, Thinking Ergonomix
Library shelving Abax