Institute of Public Administration - New Library

Location: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Client: DFAT / Technical Enabling Unit / Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance (PILAG) 
Status: Due 2018


James Cubitt Architects were engaged by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the Technical Enabling Unit (TEU) to undertake the design and documentation of a new Library and Resource Centre for the Papua New Guinea Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance (PILAG). This project is reflective of a MoU between the GoPNG and GoA to support public sector education and training. The library building reflects a more pragmatic response. Originally identified for a refurbishment, a comprehensive feasibility study highlighting the long term benefits of a new building as being a more viable solution. The design of the New Library and Bully Beef Wing (being completed by JCA) strategically redefine and renew the PILAG campus. Both buildings form gateways to the PILAG Campus while creating a memorable landscaped space between; fostering a sense of place at the heart of the PILAG campus. Effectively bookending the campus and in turn enhancing the existing green quadrangle within the campus. In particular with the Bully Beef Wing this opened the opportunity for increased connectivity with the existing Main Hall. One of the fundamental goals of PILAG was to improve the Campus function spaces not only for internal training and learning but to also enable PILAG to generate revenue through access to high quality function space for rent. This forms part of a broader plan to use income generated to further improve the campus facilities and add to the ongoing maintenance fund. In developing the masterplan and concept both buildings accept to the simple building form and east west orientation of the existing building fabric while playfully reinterpreting and revaluing the predominant use of face blockwork. PILAG currently comprises a number of single storey blockwork constructed buildings. A form reflective of its 60’s origins. What the buildings have proven is the idea that the fundamental design principles adopted then offer a low cost, low maintenance highly successful solution. Adhering tot this principles in a very contemporary way become essential in allowing the campus to retain its holistic and reserved aesthetic. Mosaic walls and internal screens have been treated as opportunities for integrated artwork as subtle layers of cultural significance. Breaking the mass and form and offering moments of colour and shadow. Both buildings are open plan environments with adjacent multipurpose meeting rooms to that facilitate a diverse set of group activities whether they are board room meetings, seminars, symposiums, lectures, tutorials or informal gatherings. The relationship between transparent open plan and enclosed meeting rooms is made dynamic through the use of timber screens and various forms of glazing motifs that create an environment where staff and students are empowered to choose the spatial quality that most suits their needs. The open plan spaces in both the new Administration Building and New Library are designed to be generous in scale, lively, mechanically ventilated but able to be naturally ventilated, naturally lit environments. They are designed so that the furniture and joinery within them create flexible and intimate work and learning environments.