Whitefield McQueen Irwin Alsop branch out

Wednesday 09 Nov 2011

Nationally recognised Avenue of Honour inspires abstract library in Bacchus Marsh

Architects Whitefield McQueen Irwin Alsop have designed a new library and community building for the rural community of Moorabool Shire, located in Main Street, Bacchus Marsh about 45 minutes outside Melbourne.

The first new building in Main Street for almost 30 years, the design team, looking for inspiration, turned to the nationally recognised and iconic Avenue of Honour, the elm trees planted along the main road in 1918 to honour those who served in World War I, landmarks the arrival in Bacchus Marsh.

“We quickly realised the full palette of design ideas was available to us in the trees that form the Avenue, the buildings structure, skin and openings were all inspired by the Avenue, a fitting way to add to the Urban fabric by honouring the past and connecting to the future”

The exposed steel frame is a refined ‘trunk and branch’ structure. The skin of the building is dark and finely ribbed, taking the fine lines in the leaves and the darkness generated when the Avenue is in full leaf. The buildings openings are a stripped down representation of the Avenues negative space in the canopy, where sun penetrates the openings, even the green on the steel was colour matched from the green hues of the leaf canopy with full sunlight behind.

The building is part of a precinct master plan and broader cultural strategy for the town. As well as providing a new language to the streetscape, including street furniture and low maintenance planting, the building also acts as an environmental beacon, advertising Councils commitment to positive climate change initiatives.

Council were instrumental in the integration of sustainability initiatives such as Ground Source Heat Loop technology for heating and cooling, an automated night-purge ventilation system, and rainwater harvesting to service the amenities.

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