A campus library for an extended community
The current teaching areas at Penrith include Education, Science Computing and Engineering, and Design and Communication Arts. Additionally it support Western Sydney University College, and provides services for walk-in users from the local community including students from other universities.
The library provides access to over one million electronic scholarly materials, targeted physical collections, group, quiet and silent study spaces and has integrated accessible furniture as standard practice.
An impressive well thought out building which blends with its surroundings. Good combination of transparency on the ground floor allowing a glimpse into the interior and the activity therein, with solidity on the upper floors demonstrating gravitas and the significance of the library building. I liked the Alsop-inspired graphics leaving users in no doubt that this was a library, and the clearly identified entrance.
The exterior colour scheme integrates well with the surrounding green space. The interior is open and easy to navigate, and makes good use of natural light. The building combines the traditional emphasis on collections with the new approach to learning spaces in an exciting and dramatic way. The interior design is very pleasing with a wide variety of seating and study places which also allow for a certain degree of flexibility. Flexibility is demonstrated with fixed and moving furniture, which make for fluid study spaces. Innovative features include roving librarians, and a central book collection that creates an acoustic buffer.
The library fulfils its objective of merging two libraries into one central library and study facility. The building has a 4 star Greenstar rating.
Students have agency in using the space with after hours access, the ability to control lighting in study rooms, and adjust furniture to the desired height/configuration.
The design team included librarians, facility managers, architects and interior designers and the impact of this multi-disciplinary team appears to have carried through to the building and obviously informed the clear strategic approach. The design supports the strategic aim to create a modern library that allows for both quiet study spaces and collaborative study and activities. In addition, the building is highly sustainable and provides barrier-free access.
A good building should enable library staff to provide enhanced services while providing a safe, pleasant and easy to use environment for its users. The John Phillips Library has achieved this.
Architect: Architects AJ+C
Project completed: 16/12/2014