Located at the heart of Kenmore Village, the design of Kenmore Library sees the building conceived as an elevated pod. It is a unique design statement with a practical purpose – allowing existing car parking to be retained underneath, as well as ensuring connectivity to neighbouring community facilities.
Kenmore Library was designed and constructed within the Kenmore Village shopping centre in Brisbane. It was opened by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane in 2010 and replaced a mobile library van which had been in operation for many years. The project saw the design team working to an internal special specification from the Brisbane Council specialist library planning service.
The site was directly adjacent, and connected, to the main retail centre. This meant the new building would displace an important and well-used carpark. The design team developed a solution to position the Library as an elevated structure – a pod – allowing carparking to be reinstated below it. A new escalator and lift allowed easy access from the ground level up to the Library.
The elevated pod design ensures the Library is more than simply a building on legs with under-croft parking – a subtle, but important distinction. Particular care was taken to ensure that the underside of the building was constructed as a clean and simple plane. To achieve this, most pipe work was able to be located in order to keep the main soffit clear of clutter, the concrete slab thickness was increased to allow for the elimination of beams, and a high class of formwork was used.
In contrast, a standardised design approach would have resulted in the building displaying a network of exposed beams and the evidence of rough concrete formwork.
CONNECTING TO THE COMMUNITY
The design allows the Library to connect to the neighbouring community facilities. This includes offices and a ballet school. It also connects to the Kenmore Village retail below.
In addition, a childcare centre, also designed by Ignite Architects, operates on a separate but connected part of the site.
Meeting rooms, available for community use, were also included in the design. All these elements serve to make the Library versatile, functional and responsive to community needs.
CONNECTING TO THE SURROUNDS
The design team planned the building’s orientation to specifically allow for long and pleasant views over the Kenmore district. This meant the outside and inside have a strong visual connection.
A series of individual reading bays were designed to achieve this. These reading bays are not only a functional benefit within the Library itself, but also provide a strong visual expression on the external façade.
As the windows in these bays face west, external retractable fabric blinds were incorporated into the window bays.
The materials in the building envelope primarily comprise composite aluminium panels, painted fibre cement sheeting for the roof apron (which drapes over the north and south facades) and simple rendered and painted blockwork.
Colours on the façade and signs are the official colours of Brisbane Council.