FJMT scoops first schmidt hammer lassen architects - Public Library of the Year Award
Earlier this year, Danish practice schmidt hammer lassen architects and the Danish Agency for Culture initiated a new award to celebrate public libraries. Based on a series of six criteria, FJMT’s Craigieburn Library in Hume City, Australia has been announced as the winner of this inaugural competition.
Morten Schmidt, senior partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects notes: “Modern libraries are one of the most important platforms for exchanging knowledge. As opposed to information found on the internet, the knowledge that arises through collaboration and exchange between people in a library is of particular significance. That is why it is crucial for library architecture to support collaboration and create spaces that invite people to meet.”
Completed in 2012, the Craigieburn Library was constructed to meet the growing demands of an expanding community north of Melbourne. FJMT responded to the natural elements of the site, integrating the new-build structure into the raw landscape. The town of Craigieburn is a rapidly-developing urban centre and, as such, it required a new focus point for the community.
The resulting Craigieburn Library comprises a learning centre, library, and gathering space in an area of new housing projects and retail developments, with the potential to host markets and music performances along its shaded verandas.
The development is formed of multiple interlocking pavilions of varying height and scale, dipping downwards from the entranceway and a two-storey reading volume to the lower height of the children’s library. A double-height reading room is bathed in natural light given its position along a glazed northern façade, protected by directional roof louvres.
Of their material choices, FJMT says: “The lightweight steel and timber-treated roof structures are complemented by the heavy rammed earth walls that form the enclosure and connect the building with the earth it sits on.
"Through the rammed earth, we are seeking a direct transformation of the ground of the site into built form, in a sense wrapping the earth of the site around the lightweight veranda like pavilions that open out to this extended horizontal landscape.”