Architect Eli Giannini gives Bendigo library a new chapter in its life

Written by admin on 05/07/2018 Categories: 南京夜网

MGS architects used the solid concrete base of Bendigo Library to bring it into the 21st century. Photo: Andrew Latreille
Nanjing Night Net

Golden yellow hues reflect back to the gold rush days in the revamp of Bendigo Library by MGS architects. Photo: Andrew Latreille

Golden yellow hues reflect back to the gold rush days in the revamp of Bendigo Library by MGS architects. Photo: Andrew Latreille

MGS architects used the solid concrete base of Bendigo Library to bring it into the 21st century. Photo: Andrew Latreille

Golden yellow hues reflect back to the gold rush days in the revamp of Bendigo Library by MGS architects. Photo: Andrew Latreille

MGS architects used the solid concrete base of Bendigo Library to bring it into the 21st century. Photo: Andrew Latreille

Golden yellow hues reflect back to the gold rush days in the revamp of Bendigo Library by MGS architects. Photo: Andrew Latreille

Occupying a prominent site in Bendigo’s CBD is the library. Adjacent to the historic town hall, the library, originally designed in the mid-1980s, was one of the least ‘polished jewels’ in the streetscape. However, with its solid concrete-block walls, the brief was to renovate, rather than demolish.

“The original building had past its use-by date, but the ‘bones’ were there,” says architect Eli Giannini, a director of MGS Architects, who worked closely with fellow director architect Joshua Wheeler. “You could see the spaces weren’t functioning, either for staff or the community,” said Ms Giannini, whose brief came from the City of Bendigo and the Goldfields Library Corporation.

Originally occupying 4000 square metres of floor space, the other problem with the previous design, was the configuration of public and staff areas. The library staff were  tucked away on the first floor, with minimal connection to the book collection. Likewise, apart from a few bookshelves, there was little call for the public to venture onto the first floor.

“The facade also didn’t engage with the public or the street,” said Ms Giannini, whoappreciated the many fine historic buildings in the immediate vicinity.

So the rather twee-style latticework that appeared on the 1980s design, was removed in favour of a dramatic 2.5 metre awning. Made from perforated golden yellow steel (a nod to Bendigo’s gold rush days), the awning provided a welcoming gesture in the streetscape. New entrances were also created for the new library/community hub, including ramps that are popular with youth in the area. “It’s an informal meeting area after school,” said Ms Giannini, whose firm received two architectural awards for the renovation, including the Regional Prize for 2014 from the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter).

The new wing, comprising an additional 1000 square metres of floor area, combines the best of the present with the past. The original sawtooth ceiling has been reworked with new materials such as bamboo veneer. And gold metal, used in the primary awning, has been introduced into the interior spaces. One of the most important changes made by MGS Architects is the reconfiguration of spaces. The library staff, for example, have been relocated to the ground floor, partially concealed by a glass-and-joinery wall made from bamboo.

“This allows for passive surveillance, as well as a more comfortable environment for staff,” Ms Giannini said. Likewise, the younger audience, from toddlers to 10 year olds, can enjoy their own space. A two-level cubby, complete with bookshelves and audio equipment, is tucked into one corner of the library.

While many of the features in the Bendigo library, such as the cafe, break-out areas and enclosed meeting rooms are new, others, such as a theatrette, are unveiled by removing an enclosing wall. “This area was previously a ‘dark hole’,” Ms Giannini said, recalling the theatrette’s black walls. Now the stepped auditorium forms part of the children’s library, allowing users to engage with the furniture, as well as the spaces. Like many contemporary libraries, the emphasis is now on appealing to all sectors of the community, in all age groups. Older members can sit back and read a book in one of the many lounge areas.

MGS Architects also included amenities for the Goldfield Library Corporation, which has 10 separate libraries in rural Victoria. The architects included display nooks for the display of Bendigo’s memorabilia, as well as storage for city records. “Libraries are much more complex buildings to design, with numerous requirements to satisfy a broader community,” Ms Giannini said, recalling the antiquated storage systems used previously.

“It’s a rich archive, but it’s now a place that people want to come to on a daily basis and, importantly, spend time.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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