New community hub offers community-focused facilities and sustainable design
GroupGSA has just completed work on the new three level, 2040 square metre North Fitzroy Library and Community Hub project on St Georges Road, North Fitzroy in Melbourne for the City of Yarra. The stunning new $16+ million architectural and landscape design incorporates a library, maternal/child health facility and a variety of community-focused facilities, including a new home for the City of Yarra’s International House. The building has been named ‘Bargoonga Nganjin’ meaning ‘Gather Everybody’ in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people, which is a fitting for this highly anticipated library and community facility.
The inner city Melbourne council wanted to create a cross-generational meeting place for people of different cultures and ethnicities with a strong focus on user experience, future flexibility and environmentally sustainable design. Rising to the challenge, GroupGSA’s elegant solution used innovative planning and a high level of community consultation to develop the difficult site on time and on budget.
GroupGSA distilled cellular supporting spaces to the south and open flexible spaces to the north of the site, to increase the usability of the hub. Distributed over two levels, the library occupies the majority of the building’s wedge-shaped floor plate with the first floor also providing the maternal/child health facilities and two playgroup rooms.
The second floor is the focus of community facilities with large dividable spaces, a commercial kitchen and shared community office. An extensive secure rooftop garden extends both the community rooms and library, offering flexible outdoor-indoor interaction for uses commonly relegated to internal facilities, such as interaction and study. It connects the northern end of the first and second floors via cascading terraced planters and informal seating.
The clever community focused design achieves the highest level of environmentally sustainable design – a 6-Star Green Star Design – plus Best Practice Universal Access. Green initiatives include water management, shading systems, onsite power generation and a pressurised air handling system. Best Practice Universal Access features include changing places facilities, lifts as fire escapes, onsite generator back up, hearing loops and luminance materials.
To coordinate and deliver on the numerous requirements for the space, GroupGSA consulted extensively with multiple key stakeholders and the community, creating a Design Reference group that effected a complete turnaround from community scepticism to full support for the project.
Heritage elements of the site had to be considered and negotiation with the Council’s Heritage Consultant undertaken. Any changes to the brief resulting from these consultations were facilitated by an integrated BIM approach assisted by VCAT mediation.
The result is a multimodal and imaginative community space that will be treasured for generations to come.
All images by Tom Hutton.