We were invited to design a new library for the Eastland Melbourne redevelopment, working with ACME as part of the scheme to rejuvenate an existing shopping centre. There was particular focus on the external presentation, with AKT II contributing to not just the library façade, but also the façade of the shopping centre and shop fronts.
With a total floor area of 3,100 m², the two-storey library comprises a reinforced concrete construction with cantilever beams on three sides and an atrium cutting through the floor slabs. The roof is supported by tree columns, maximising the use of space at first floor by branching the support structure to higher levels.
The most striking feature of the library is its wrap around façade from first floor to roof. This comprises an open grillage of glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) panels which have diamond voids in the centre, each varying in size due to the shifting pattern density. These are more open in areas intended for break-out, cafés and reading, whilst they are more closed in those intended for study, use of computers and book shelves. Due to this open system, a wall of glazing behind the grillage provides the system for protecting the library against the elements.
In addition, we also engineered the façade of 80 mm-thick reinforced concrete fins for the existing complex containing the car park, shopping centre and gym. There are two fin sizes for this, one from ground floor to first, and the other from first to roof level.
Above the entrance to the lower level of the shopping centre, we designed a double-curved roof canopy to form a landmark gateway in the new public square. It is a semi-monocoque stainless steel shell with arches between abutments along the short axis, whilst the long axis is a partially balanced cantilever.
Adding glamour to an existing shopping centre in Melbourne
3,100 m² (library)