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Timber Design Awards

Bougainville Library

I was asked by the Trust to design the new library building which would house and display 15000 books while providing a variety of spaces where the books could be read in comfort, community events could be held and cultural performances could occur.

The electricity supply in Arawa is very unreliable so an air conditioned building was out of the question. Instead the principles of shade, ventilation and orientation had to be applied vigorously to achieve the desired environment. There are no ‘windows’ in the building. Everything from the floor right up to the roof is gapped and slatted to allow as much air movement as possible. The roof is the predominant element with wide overhanging eaves, reflective surfaces and plywood (from New Zealand) linings to prevent heat radiating through to the underside.

‘Sac sac’ screens on the exterior walls are woven from bamboo into various repetitive patterns and reflect local places and stories.

All the timber for the construction apart from the plywood was sourced from local supplies and is predominantly ‘Vitex’ a strong durable hardwood ideal for this situation. The construction was undertaken by the local carpentry school set up and supervised by Barry Binding a Wellington builder working for VSA in Arawa. The building took about 2 years to complete.