The Redcliffs Community Library was established in 1913, and later gifted to the Christchurch City Council.
Destroyed in the 2011 earthquakes, a new purpose designed library is now under contruction.
Primarily as a building, it is a very simple vernacular form, chosen for its elegance and relevance, and also for its cost effectiveness. The structure is exposed to display its strength and resilience, but also due to the timber, a warm structure.
The design is a metaphor for many things with layers of references. The exterior envelope is the main protection of the contents, and is detailed to reflect the spine and hard cover of a book. The red colour reflects the colour of the volcanic basalt surrounding the area, and the street elevation is white, like the pages of a book. These white “pages” are semi translucent, allowing diffuse light into the building during the day, while allowing lighting to shine through at night, like a beacon.
The building has been designed with a focussed environmental efficiency. The exterior skin of the building is insulated with considerably more than the minnimum required. Photo-voltaic panels will generate electricity to power the building, rainwater is collected and stored, and the heating is a combination of geothermal and electrical, powered by the heat of the ground and the light from the sun.
The building reflects the residents of Redcliffs – resilient and knowledgeable, with a sense of humour.
Judges comments from the Property Council Awards:
"The design, layout and construction of Redcliffs Village library has successfully achieved the feel, purpose and scale of an inviting, people friendly meeting place; where it is easy to envisage mums and kids eagerly spending time after school and friends and neighbours bumping into each other and passing friendly chatter.
Deep thought has gone into the design and street scape elements to ensure a strong sense of welcome to the community. The building, with its simple but elegant lines is seemingly elevated above the passing traffic as if on a pedestal. The building cleverly uses gathering points; seating, bike racks, water fountain – for people and dogs; promotes people activity, reinforcing the community aspect.
Overall the design, scale and clever use of natural materials will ensure Redcliffs Village library remains a focal point for the community."