Completion Date: February 2014

 

Bendigo Library Refurbishment, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
MGS Architects

The renamed ‘New Generation Bendigo Library’ delivers ‘state of the art’ library services, community activity and meeting rooms, quiet spaces, a café’, a Volunteer Resource Centre, a children’s library and play ‘cubby’, new gallery spaces to showcase Bendigo’s history and community art projects, upgraded research facilities for the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre Reading Room, and extensive internet access to augment the community’s capacity for leisure and study activities. The library has also been fitted with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) technology to seamlessly integrate visits to the space with borrowing services. The Building is also the headquarters of the Goldfields Library Corporation.

The Redevelopment comprises 4000 sq. m. of functional areas over two levels designed to the client’s desire to deliver a library that is flexible and inclusive where people can meet, exchange ideas and interact with each other through programmes and chance meeting.

The New Generation Bendigo Library has enjoyed visits by 20,000 people and an increase of 700 members within the first 10 days of re-opening. The Bendigo Library is now the second largest library in Victoria after the State Library.

The Bendigo Library Redevelopment is a careful integration of former library and state archive services into a new flexible and inclusive place for the local community. The diversity of spaces, including the playful children's library and 'cubby house', cafe, gallery spaces and upgraded research facilities, offer a range of opportunities to meet and exchange, or for quiet reflection. Traditional library functions are accommodated in the careful retention of the existing building fabric, while a new bamboo and coloured Perspex 'lantern' over a linear walkway (the new internal street that was created to connect Littleton Terrace with the main Shopping Mall delivers a valuable light source and a sense of connection to the new community areas.

The new concrete panel extension creates a contemporary facade to the former Brutalist building and a new address to the adjacent park. Combined with generous glazing, its folding plane provides a visual connection from the Library interiors and its community spaces to the exterior and Town Hall beyond, enhancing the relaxed and inviting qualities of these intimate spaces. The internal use of timbers and coloured panels and changing ceiling heights and voids adds to the diversity and definition of spaces to create a colourful, vibrant and engaging space.

This library is no authoritarian bastion of hushed silence rather it is a place of meeting, interaction and inspiration. The glazed façade to the park allows the greenery to seamlessly meander inside so that instead of creating an inward focused space this library is light filled and a delight to inhabit.

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