Media release November 2021

Library concept design marks major milestone for Armstrong Creek

Friday 12 November 2021

City of Greater Geelong has unveiled its bold and culturally immersive library concept design, by global studio Buchan, for one of Victoria’s fastest growing regional areas.

The architecture firm was appointed to the project after winning the design competition for Armstrong Creek area’s first civic and social infrastructure project, which will cater to a potential community of up to 65,000 people.

The Armstrong Creek Town Centre Library and Community Hub is the result of a collaboration between Buchan, the City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC), Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and community stakeholders. The expressive architectural design will realise an ultra-modern, tri-level, environmentally sensitive and technology rich branch library facility to be completed by early 2024.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said the $18.48 million library reflects the City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design and would be located within the Armstrong Creek town centre in close proximity to schools, open space and proposed cultural and sporting infrastructure.

“The Armstrong Creek Library and Community Hub concept design reflects the community’s vision of a state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive, technologically enabled, library and community space, that caters to the diverse needs of the growing local community while celebrating Wadawurrung culture,” Mayor Asher said.

“As the first social civic infrastructure in the suburb, the library and community hub will be incredibly important for Armstrong Creek residents as a place for lifelong learning, social connection and building a sense of community.

“Thank you to the community members who have helped shape this inspiring design and important asset for the area. I encourage you all to have a look and share your thoughts with us.”

The 2,500 sqm library will feature a collection of 40,000 books and resources, flexible and easily accessible spaces for children’s learning, youth programs and dedicated multi-purpose meeting spaces on level one, with creative spaces and bookable co-working amenities on level two. The ground floor will serve as the civic interface with direct access to the external terraces and the town centre.

Buchan worked with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and the City in developing a ‘Living Water’ narrative that embedded Wadawurrung Language to deliver a design that respected and embraced the area’s Wadawurrung living cultural heritage.

“The involvement in co-designing this space brings to life Wadawurrung spirit and the cultural values of Djilang and its surrounds. Living Water symbolises the rich values and spirit that weaves through and surrounds Armstrong Creek and which celebrates its fluidity of inspiration and sustenance to our communities,” Stephanie Skinner, Wadawurrung Traditional Owner, said.

The Wadawurrung narrative illuminates the library as a gathering place for all of Armstrong Creek’s residents and First Nations Peoples to discuss and share interests, trade, and socialise. The site is located along Armstrong Creek with views to Wurdi Youang (the You Yangs) and Mount Duneed, and near to Lake Connewarre, all of which are significant places for Wadawurrung People.

Buchan lead architect Aleksander Borek said the Library and Community Hub’s facade and interiors was inspired by Armstrong Creek’s diverse identity and future as a growing local community.

“The fluid waterways of this landscape to the Wadawurrung People are part of a much larger ecology and have been a natural meeting point and travelling route for centuries offering a place of sustenance, fluidity, fertility and spirituality, known as ‘Living Water’,” Mr Borek said.

“Just as ‘Living Water’ gathers and nourishes us, our vision for the new Library and Community Hub is to create a destination for the people of Armstrong Creek to gather and nourish at a central meeting point; a place of inspiration where the community and future generations can thrive together.”

The circular windows around the building’s perimeter epitomise ‘solidarity’ and a united local community, while creating a natural and fluid envelope for the internal spaces. The windows also allow for visual connections to the environment outside from multiple panoramic vantage points.

“We’ve used the round window compositions to frame specific natural forms significant to Armstrong Creek, such as the You Yangs, and other meeting spots in the landscape. There are also proposed educational plugs on the walls, describing to the user the cultural significance of landmarks they can see,” Mr Borek said.

Buchan’s clever curation of the proposed spaces takes users on an intuitive journey through the library. The organic floor pattern is inspired by natural flow, while finishes throughout are simple and honest using a muted, earthy palette and raw concrete surfaces to reflect the local context. A lush landscaped civic interface and feature canopy cantilevering over main town square entry will create a welcoming community entrance and confluence for the town centre.

Geelong Regional Library Corporation CEO Vanessa Schernickau welcomed the Armstrong Creek Library and Community Hub designs.

“Local people have shared their ideas for a library that is modern, accessible and inspirational in design and we are delighted with the concepts for the Armstrong Creek Library and Community Hub that we believe are reflective of the needs and vision of this growing community. It is a building that is sensitive to the environment, and reflects and celebrates Wadawurrung culture,” Ms Schernickau said.

“The library will include a dedicated children’s area, creative and co-working spaces, meeting rooms and indoor/outdoor areas – all features that will undoubtedly make this a much-loved and practical gathering and working space, providing a true ‘heart’ for the community.

“I hope the people of Armstrong Creek will take the opportunity to have a look at the design concepts for their new library and share their thoughts; your feedback is valuable.”

Geelong is Australia’s first (and only) City of Design. The city is also a member of the UNESCO Creative City Network. The City of Design designation was foundational in the design concept planning in using creativity and innovation to build more sustainable, resilient and inclusive communities.

The proposed design caters for a five-star Green Star rating and incorporates best practice environmental design principles, use of sustainable, environmentally friendly and robust materials and energy efficient low maintenance fixtures — a reflection of the project vision, functionality and the site context within wider Armstrong Creek Master Plan.

The $1billion masterplanned development of Armstrong Creek Town Centre by Wel.Co will deliver a wide range of uses including retail, commercial, hospitality, leisure, hotel and residential and will provide significant employment opportunities for the Armstrong Creek and wider Geelong and Surf Coast region.