TRC Toowoomba City Library

Location: Toowoomba, Australia
Client: Toowoomba Regional Council
Budget: $26.5M
Status: Completed 2015
 

James Cubitt Architects Pty Ltd (JCA) in Association with PT were appointed by Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) to undertake the design of the new Toowoomba City Library and Civic Square. Working partnership with key design collaborators including Place Design Group, the project has sought to provide the city of Toowoomba and the region itself with a technologically savvy, ESD considered, contextually appropriate and socially aware community facility. Knowledge, information, and technology have become key ingredients in the shaping and advancing the quality of life for our communities and a successful community is one in which people can easily access new information, learn and acquire skills. The Library’s role in providing functional, flexible and memorable space lies at the heart of the process of reinvention for the Toowoomba City Library.  As a hub for the region the building has been designed to provide a place, in which people can interact, research, read, relax and be entertained. The primary objective of the project is to provide space for the relocation of the Toowoomba City Library due to redevelopment of the current building. In relocating the library TRC benefits from the opportunity to modernise library service delivery to the Toowoomba community and create an integrated Civic building that engages with the people through the creation of not only the library but a set of unique community spaces and purpose designed civic square. 

The scale of the project and desires of the client placed an emphasis on the Library projecting a strong architectural statement. To achieve this end significant consultation and discussion was placed on the use of materials. Driving the outcome was a desire to reinvigorate Toowoomba’s rich history of brick architecture as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. With a strong heritage in brick, the design sought to capture this both in the use of brick but also through detailing that allowed the material to become front and centre. This was important in order to allow the brick not to be lost against the complimentary copper cladding which uses up to four differing shades and treatment finishes. The intent has been to allow the copper to change over time without the creation of a verdigris through oxidisation, rather by pre finishing the copper the material is able to stabilise and retain the original intent. The copper itself allows the building to transform dependant on the weather and time of day creating an ever-changing play on light and colour. 

Internally the building has been kept simple and clean ensuring the focus remains heavily on the books and activities inside. The community nature of the building is strengthened by the availability of shred meeting spaces for visitors along with a community vaccination clinic. Critical considerations placed on the project beyond its functional needs was how the building would present itself within the strong regional and historical context of Toowoomba. The legacy of wealth and prosperity within Downlands rural fabric is reflected in the rich architecture of Toowoomba and surrounding towns. This has been continued in the new Library with the selection of materials that offer an extension of the architectural weave of the surrounding streetscapes but also present a contemporary and distinct language afforded by such prominent archetypes. Through the delivery of a modern library and community facility that meets the current and emerging needs of the regional community the new facility has embraced notions of constant change, adaptable space and versatility essential in regional communities. The Toowoomba City Library again demonstrates the strength in the collaboration process and the design understanding of JCA and PTA in partnership.

 

2017 Queensland Architecture Awards - Darling Downs Region - Commendation

Photography: Roger D'Souza Phography