Glass-rich Australian library incorporates longest single railway platform into design
A new community library in South Australian city of Port Pirie has now been completed, enveloping the country’s longest single railway platform into its design. Composed by local practice Kirkbride Boyce Architects working with engineers Meinhardt, the public facility features large glass panels – no two equal in size or shape – in an effort to enhance natural daylighting and develop a relationship between inside and outside space.
The main design challenge on this project was the incorporation of a railway platform into the development space. Andrew Kirkbride, Principal at Kirkbride Architects explains: “Keeping the platform meant building an 80m long façade. Creating interest over such length was a real challenge and the inspiration came from the curving, lineal nature of the Flinders Ranges that not only form the backdrop for the town but also the new library.”
Double glazed, high performance glass dominates the public-facing wall, with a curved roof overhang to protect the interior space from severe summer sunlight. Engineers Meinhardt took care to optimise internal conditions for those using the facility, as Bob Ellis, General Manager for Meinhardt South Australia reveals: “By using computer modelling during the early stages of the new Port Pirie Library project we were able to validate and optimise the air conditioning design.
“The air conditioning system performs flawlessly in temperatures above 40˚C. The air distribution system has been designed for low noise and high quality diffused air, to eliminate drafts and ensure good air circulation in both summer and winter. The grilles produce what’s known as a coanda effect, forming rotational symmetrical radial jets which supply the air with high turbulence and a large induction effect. The result is high quality, even and draft free indoor air flows.”
The majority of spaces within the complex are designed to be extremely flexible by minimising circulation routes, providing clear signage and sightlines, and ensuring that the western circulation corridor can also be used as a display gallery, quiet seating area and social meeting spot.