Award Winning Devonport Library

Te Pãtaka Kõrero O Te Hau Kapua Devonport library has won two NZ Property Council Awards for 2015 and was a finalist in the Public Library of the Year Awards.

The Devonport Library was awarded an Excellence Award and a Merit Award at the 2015 NZ Property Council Awards. It was also a finalist in the Public Library of the Year Awards for the annual International Federation of Libraries Association. Recognition continues in the 2016 New Zealand Architecture Awards, as a Public Architecture winner.

Devonport’s newest civic building was developed by Auckland Libraries and Auckland Council’s Project Delivery Unit team (formerly Major and Special Projects), with consultation across a spectrum of internal and external stakeholders. The brief was to create a ‘21st Century Library’ for Devonport, the North Shore and the Auckland region.

The $7.8 million project was designed by Athfield Architects with engineering consultants AECOM, and successfully project managed by The Building Intelligence Group’s Project Director Terry Mansfield and Project Manager Sarah Livingstone.

Mirla Edmundson, Manager of Customer Experience Central City, Heritage, and Research Libraries – and project sponsor comments on the vision “We were really starting with a blank slate in terms of how we were going to deliver services. We used customer focus groups and feedback from the community to help inform the design.” “We’re aware that our business is changing and the impact of the digital environment means striking a balance between space for people and space for collections. In the middle of all that is the customer, who still often seeks a library for the place.”

Featuring lofty, double height ceilings, a curving staircase that doubles as a bookcase and a mezzanine level, the Library’s 950m2 of floor space sits neatly on the same footprint as its predecessor. It’s a site with ancestral significance for five local Iwi: Te Kawerau a Maki, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Whatua, Ngati Maru and Ngai Tai ki Tamaki. And it was carvers from these Iwi who worked together to contribute the totara pare, or lintel that adorns the main entrance.

The structure is glue-laminated timber. Expansive glazing and adjustable louvres allow natural ventilation and dappled sunlight through the mature trees sharing the Windsor Reserve, such as the venerable Moreton Bay Fig. The building opens into a northwest courtyard – where visitors can spill outside with a collection of beanbags for outdoor reading and learning.

The largely open layout is split between larger scale, informal zones on the ground floor and cosier spaces on the mezzanine. There is a sense of fun in the teen space – which features a signature oversized porthole window, terraced seating and bold coloured stripes. For the youngest visitors, the scale is smaller, and a ‘secret door’ adds to the zone’s sense of adventure. In ‘grown up’ spaces, furnishings and two fireplaces create a cosy ‘living room’ ambiance.

The Library has gained significant new art pieces. Artist Judy Millar’s dramatic folding screen in hand printed and painted silk, creates visual interest and performs a security function, screening off areas of the space downstairs. The glass sculpture by Te Rongo Kirkwood honours Princess Te Puea Herangi and the resonance of her karakia in peaceful opposition to the imprisonment at nearby Fort Takapuna of men who refused conscription during the First World War.

TBIG is proud of the project’s outcomes. “It’s truly a special building. We were aware of the Library’s significance to the community and therefore felt an added sense of respect and responsibility to get this right, for Devonport residents now and in the future.” says Project Manager Sarah Livingstone.

The Library has also been recognised in the NZ Timber Design Awards winning two High Commended Awards.