Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre
by H2o Architects

| 11 comments

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Brightly coloured and patterned panels chosen by different groups in the local community adorn a new library and learning centre in Melbourne, Australia. 

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

The combinations of ceramic tiles, timber, powder-coated steel, fritted glass and composite panels were selected in consultation with the centre's intended users, many of them Middle Eastern.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Designed by H2o Architects of Australia, the project offers an upgrade to the existing gymnasium on the site plus a new building to house the library and learning centre.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

The main, larger block contains the library while a more compact adjoining volume contains study rooms and a foyer.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Photography is by Trevor Mein.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Here's some more text from the architects:


Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre

Form

Twin-conjoined volumes -one high for the taller and much larger library space and the other low mostly containing cellular rooms plus foyer - define the form. The new building is surrounded by adjacent car parking and landscaping and linked to the existing upgraded  gymnasium.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Sustainability

The building was conceived as being low-energy, naturally-ventilated, heated and cooled, thermally efficient and utilising appropriate materials with low or no off-gassing. The saw-tooth roof form allows maximum south light with no sun penetration into the library.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Contexturalism

The site is a highly public one. Opposite is a MacDonald's restaurant en route to the local shopping strip  including rows of brightly coloured garages. The adjacent intersection carries high volumes of traffic. The design reflects its eclectic neighbourhood and attempts to recall atypical Anglo Saxon imagery for its mostly immigrant local residents.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Special qualities

The specific building type of the centre evolved in an unusual manner. The facility was originally briefed as a Community Centre with two principle components - a 200 seat flat floor Multipurpose Hall for hire by local community groups and associated staff areas, foyer, amenities and flexible, wireless classrooms.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Mid way through construction the brief changed to a Community library. The high ceilinged south lit MPR simply adapted to reading and reference area, support spaces generally maintained the same functions and one classroom was converted to a Computer Lab.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Originality

Deliberate choices were made of brightly coloured Trespa panelling as the primary cladding and the feature end wall palette of ceramic tile, timber, powder coat steel, alucobond and fritted glass to reflect the material choices and vivid colourings of the largely Middle Easern users.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

We felt strongly that public acknowledgement of the built form aspirations of these cultures by Melbourne designers had been largely ignored.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Innovation

Materials and colours were selected from examples amongst local building stock.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Site plan

The buildings innovative and iconography reinterprets the lurid colourings and exaggerated realities of well-known Australian artists, Barry Humphries and Howard Arkley in their depictions of the 'Oz' suburb.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Ground floor plan

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

Section


Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

East elevation

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre by H2o Architects

South elevation

Designer: H2o Architects
Architects: Tim Hurburgh, Mark O'Dwyer
Project Team: Natasha Wheatland, Matthias Ott, Vanja Joffer, Soizic Bernier, Anne-Claire Deville, Adriana Stelmach, Julie Buckton
Structural Engineer: Felicetti Consulting Engineers
Services Engineer: Fryda Dorne Associates
Landscape Architect: Rush Wright Associates
General Contractor: Ireland Brown Constructions
Client: Skills Victoria
Project Manager: Coffey Projects
User: Moonee Valley City Council
Location: Corner of Military Road and Clarendon Street, Avondale Heights, Victoria, Australia
Built Area: 1,625m2 / 835m2 (new building), 790m2 (existing gymnasium)
Completion (date): October 2010

Finishing Materials:

Facade: Trespa Meteon high pressure laminate from HH Robertson
Feature wall (south elevation): Vogue System Ceramic tiles from Classic Ceramics, grey ironbark recycled timber with expressed joints, digitally printed glazing from Digiglass, CNC routed Trespa custom-designed routed panels from Alclad Architectual, Alucobond composite panel cladding

  • Greenbeans

    There’s supposed to be a reason why someone is an architect and the general public is not, such as an ‘aesthetic sensibility’.

    “Chosen by the users” is not a valid reason at all to make something this ugly in my opinion, in fact its probably an indication of the architects confidence in their own ability.

    Forget looking horribly dated in 5 years, it looks 20 years old already.

  • LSD

    Since when did the reinterpretation of bad 70's architecture seem a good idea??

  • pim

    someone recently visited the V&A?

  • tarja nurmi

    I have a strange feeling that this on will not get better with time. The choice of chairs – the big balls – pleases me, for a reason

  • H-J

    An awkward mix of 80s kitsch and postmodernism, don't get it…

  • edward

    Interesting, and rare nowadays, use of trompe-l'œil. I have a feeling the context is such that the jazzy exterior provides a welcome complexity. As long as the color doesn't fade.

  • vee

    Oh dear, that facade. It's so horrible it hurts.

  • Mister

    The interior volumes (in the reading and reference area) appear well proportioned and wonderfully lit. The architects have engaged a library as a civic gesture for a local emigre community. Yes the consultation is not an excuse, but irrelevant of your aethetic tastes the architects have provided a difficult architectural proposition that must be considered, not just dismissed because of the aesthetic choices. The appearence of the building looks towards the imagery of Howard Arkly, the rhetoric of the australian suburbs, and, continues an interest in the popular imaginary, and inparticular the play of an architectural surface taht registers a three dimensional architectural reality, that defines Melbourne localised architecture (consider the work of Lyons, ARM, Edmond and Corrigan, Norman Day etc). There is a particularly difficult question of context raised by the emigre community. We might consider this as an architecture that plays across their aspirations whilst questioning the framework of an australian identity.

  • http://www.waynemaxwell.blogspot.com Wayne Maxwell

    Front facade looks like it was referenced from Ndebele house painting.

  • John

    I live next to this building and i can assure you it is as bad as it looks.

  • Anna

    Seriously, you all have no sense of humour whatsoever, lighten up! It isn't the best building in the world, but it's not that bad. Yeesh, not every building should be made of red brick, white render, naturally greyed timber and zinc.

    "The only thing worse than vulgar urbanism is tasteful urbanism" Robert Venturi