John Wardle Architects were engaged early 2009 to deliver La Trobe University’s 5000 sq.metre Library Redevelopment for their Bundoora Campus. The physical environment of the original 1960s Library was transformed due to increasing demand for flexible study spaces and reduction in library collections. The project placed great emphasis on creating a Library environment that is vibrant, engaging and welcoming.
Plasterboard walls and paint finishes overlaid during the 1980s were carefully peeled away to reveal original timber window frames and fixed interior wall panelling. Make good works were carried out to bring original timber elements back to life. Australian FSC spotted gum veneers and sustainable solid spotted gum were carefully selected to match original timber elements.
Flexibility and adaptability were driving factors in developing material, detailing & planning strategies. Minimal use of fixed elements and increase use of demountable timber joinery and furniture allows for uninterrupted ‘free’ floor area and future flexibility.
Acoustics were paramount. A highly detailed timber bulkhead was designed and constructed to reduce noise impact at the Library’s entrance as well as creating an articulated design feature. The bulkhead consists of irregularly sized solid spotted gum timber battens concealed fixed to a suspended timber structure. Slotted acoustic spotted gum timber veneer panelling was incorporated to all joinery elements throughout Library’s study spaces.
Rather than using off the shelf products, custom designed and constructed elements were incorporated throughout the project including acoustic ceiling bulkheads and wall panels, and custom profiled handrails to stair balustrades.
Timber assisted in achieving sustainable outcomes including refurbishing & retention of appropriate timber elements and introduction of sustainably sourced new materials.