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Fusing a library and community centre but expanding the scope of both, the new facility in Helensvale demonstrates how successful a considered and integrated approach to public projects can be.



March 25th, 2014

Desiring a new type of facility that combines both a library and youth centre in a single project, along with a regional Council shop front and Councillor’s offices, the Gold Coast City Council engaged Complete Urban and Lahz Nimmo Architects in Association to design the Helensvale Branch Library and Community Cultural Youth Centre (CCYC) and provide a new cultural asset for the growing community.


The challenge was to revitalise an ageing and out-dated library to meet the current needs of the community and provide a comfortable and practical space for a wide variety of community activities. The architects’ design has created a vibrant and well-used community hub that is now more popular than the established shopping centre next door. (Attendance at the library has risen by 40% since the centre’s opening last year, and it has been labelled as one of the best in the country.)


The community hub provides not only important public space, but acts as a business and creative incubator, with facilities including 200 seat-auditorium, dance hall, recording studio, 3D printer, meeting spaces, recreational classes, and organised activities for children and families.


The design brings the library and community centre together around a shared indoor plaza called the ‘Neighbourhood Room’, which is an extension of the new outdoor plaza. This naturally ventilated and lit space is the focus of the new building — a cool, shaded reprieve from the Queensland sun, and a much needed public gathering space. It acts as an entry and address for each of the building functions, as well as vertically linking the three levels.


Along one side of the outdoor plaza, and leading into the Neighbourhood Room, artist Belinda Smith has created ‘Faraway, Here’, a ceramic art wall of gloss white; drawing on analogies of open books and birds in flight.


The building incorporates a number of sustainability initiatives including mixed mode air-conditioning, louvred windows and low velocity ceiling fans to supplement air movement and assist in creating a comfortable internal environment, roof top solar panels and rainwater collection tanks.


Photography: Brett Boardman; John Mills

Complete Urban Architects

Lahz Nimmo Architects

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