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Timber Design Awards

Waiheke Island Library

A new library for Auckland’s Waiheke Island transforms a well-known arts precinct, which includes a theatre, gallery, cinema and restaurant.

A new library for Auckland’s Waiheke Island transforms a well-known arts precinct, which includes a theatre, gallery, cinema and restaurant.
At the heart of the library’s design vocabulary is the suggestion of a canopy of pohutakawa, the evergreen tree that grows throughout coastal New Zealand.
An engineered timber truss system forms the large roof canopy, supported on shaved timber poles exposed as “tree trunks”. The ceilings feature perforated plywood panels with leaf shapes back lit with natural light.
Timber finishes are the soul of this building. The curved footprint is brought to life with a façade of carved sculptured battens which appear to move with the changing light. This rich textural element wraps around into the interior spaces, blurring line between indoors and outdoors barrier. Conceptually the panels of timber battens are a reference to the hard covers of books. Contrasting whitewashed vertical grooved plywood panels are a reference to the pages of books.
High-level windows provide both natural daylighting and ventilation and concrete floors provide thermal mass.
Each curved batten has a mirrored opposite, cut from one piece of Vitex timber eliminating wastage which is likely to have been selectively harvested by small community villages in the Solomon Islands. Returns are understood to improve the standard of village living.
The collaboration between artist, iwi, schools and architects has delivered an integrated, seamless and stunning hand finished piece of art.