Waiheke Library

Waiheke Library

Auckland Council requested an iconic community precinct to act as a gateway to Waiheke Island and reflect the island’s distinct story and character. The new facility needed to be functional, sustainably designed, and integrate with and improve the existing amenities that had been altered and developed over time in an ad-hoc manner.

A community hub

Standing proudly at the entrance to Oneroa village, the 800m2 library, landscaped courtyard and Amphitheatre make a strong statement about the island’s values and – alongside existing amenities such as the neighbouring cinema, art gallery, theatre and restaurant – create a community hub that had historically been lacking.

The design draws on the imagery of books arranged under a canopy of pohutukawa trees as for its sculptural form. This concept is strengthened by simple low maintenance, low energy sustainable design initiatives to provide a high-quality user environment of enduring value.

Spatial planning

On entering the library, the simple layout of central bookshelves surrounded by a variety of seating, studying and meeting spaces is clearly apparent and easily navigated.  A children’s reading platform rises above the bookshelves and creates a playful environment as a pirate’s crow’s nest, Romeo and Juliet balcony or any other scene that may come to the imagination.

Large sliding doors open up the north side of the building providing a seamless indoor/outdoor flow to the new courtyard and Amphitheatre space where stories might be read, outdoor chess played, or music and theatre performed.

Environmentally sustainable features

The orientation of the library has been considered to provide maximum sunlight into the building in winter with carefully proportioned roof overhangs providing shade in summer. The height and depth of the building have also been optimised to provide the best possible natural daylight and ventilation. Windows are all automatically controlled but can still be adjusted to suit individual comfort levels.

All rain is collected off the roof stored in three large underground tanks and supplies all the water needed for the building including a reservoir for firefighting. All windows are double glazed, roofs and walls highly insulated, and an array of photovoltaic panels have been designed to provide all the energy required to run the building during summer.

Community engagement

The local board publicly supported the design during a very successful community consultation and engagement process. Dialogue with iwi, regarding sensitive historical ancestral issues specific to the site, led to significant sightlines being incorporated into the open-space courtyard design and marked by an installation of three beautifully carved totara pou.

Magnificent artwork by internationally renowned local artist Kazu Nakagawa has been fully integrated into the façade, wall linings and floor of the building.


2016 Property Council NZ Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards: Resene Green Building Property Award Merit

2015 NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Award: Commercial Architectural Excellence

2015 NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Award: Resene Overall Supreme Award

  • Date
  • Tags Community, Education, Environmental Design, Interior Design

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