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2017 National Architecture Awards: Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design

Frank Bartlett Library and Moe Service Centre by FJMT Urban Design: Walter Burley Griffin Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

It is hard to believe what we see here, next to the railway station in the small Latrobe Valley town of Moe. A new city seems to be rising. Though only two storeys, this important civic addition appears to float well above the sheds, on-grade parking and one- and two-storey buildings that make up the centre of Moe. It says, in no uncertain terms, “My activities are important.” It is a modern library with extensive community facilities as well as council services. It is also an urban marker using new forms – not the traditional towers or steeples.

A giant pair of cantilevered boxes houses the two main reading rooms, between which a stair invites the visitor to a glass-floored platform with the “best view in Moe.” From this vantage point the viewer’s eyes are drawn down the main street and on to the blue haze of the Great Dividing Range, providing a direct connection to the land.

This building easily reveals itself – the plan order is comprehensive and direct. People can meet, read, work, game or hang out. Generous windows give engagement with the station. To the east, outside the aisles of books, is a generous paved public space connected to a park and railway crossing. To the west is an inclined lawn for performances and recreation. The crisscrossing ramps (for accessibility) make this a place for skateboarders, replacing their small skateboard park removed to make way for the new building.

This strategic, subtle and very effective urban addition is a small library with a major urban impact. It rethinks Moe by providing a new physical and social heart. It gives a stressed region hope for the future.

Credits

Architect
fjmt
Australia
Project Team
Richard Francis-Jones (design director), Geoff Croker (project principal), Louise Goodman (project architect), Lance White (project associate), Anne-Marie Cooke, Stewart Price (designers), Fleur Downey, Amanda (Hooi Ming) Beh (senior architects)
Consultants
Access consultant Morris Goding Accessibility Consulting
Acoustic consultant Arup
Builder Building Engineering
Building surveyor McKenzie Group
Civil and structural consultant Taylor Thomson Whitting
Fire consultant JP Fire
Landscape consultant TCL
Quantity surveyor Slattery Australia
Services consultant Murchie Consulting
Traffic consultant Taylor Thomson Whitting
Site details
Site type Urban
Category Landscape / urban design
Type Libraries, Public / civic
Project Details
Status Built

Source

Award

Published online: 2 Nov 2017
Words: 2017 National Architecture Awards Jury
Images: John Gollings

Issue

Architecture Australia, November 2017

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