North Fitzroy Library and Community Hub awarded six Green Star rating
The North Fitzroy Library and Community Hub has become the first mixed-use public building to receive a six-star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia – representing another string to the bow of this dynamic, community-oriented Melbourne project.
“The North Fitzroy community are an educated community that wanted to see a robust sustainable outcome. We put the effort in to ensure all avenues were looked at, from energy use, to the lifecycle of the building, materials, orientation and water usage. We wanted to maximise the sustainable outcome of the building,” elaborates Scott Francis, Principal at GroupGSA.
To that end, the library includes environmental features such as on-site power generation and a pressurised air handling system that is incorporated into columns instead of bulkheads to maximise overhead space. The building was designed to allow universal access for all patrons – meeting criteria that not only earned its Green Star rating, but emphasising its presence as an inclusive community hub.
“When designing this project, we took a practical approach with regards to sustainability. The overarching aspect was to do all the basic elements well in a way that related to the local community,” explains Scott.
This empathetic and environmentally-minded project marries the dual priorities of sustainability and community. For example, materials like locally-sourced, reclaimed bricks were used to reduce environmental impact and evoke a dialogue with its location. The pattern on the metal screens adorning the building is inspired by the trees in neighbouring Edinburgh Gardens. Says Scott: “I think the key to the success of this project is its grounding in the architectural language of the neighbourhood, and its efforts to engage interaction through design.”
The rooftop garden also successfully engages visitors while serving an environmental agenda. “One of the most eye catching spaces is the rooftop garden. Featuring native plants and a productive garden, this area provides more than simple green respite on the site’s narrow footprint. Its cleverly integrated catchment system, positioned underneath the roof decking, collects water to sustain landscaping as well as essential services for the whole building. Herbs and fruit trees on the roof can supply the adjoining community kitchen,” Scott details.
The North Fitzroy Library has also been shortlisted in the 2018 Victorian Architecture Awards in the public architecture, sustainable architecture and Melbourne Prize categories. The winners are set to be announced Friday 29 June.