Green Square Library and Plaza Competition

2012

A WOODLAND RETREAT

An easy, relaxed, natural woodland setting is proposed for the heart of the Green Square Town Centre. The Plaza will be reminiscent of a native woodland consisting primarily of Flooded Gum Eucalyptus grandis (45-55m) and Broad-leaved Scribbly Gum Eucayptus haemastoma (15m). These trees will be planted in a gradation of density beginning at the north-west corner of the site and thinning out to the south-east corner.

Clearings in the woodland will provide opportunities for various functions and activities in the Plaza including the new Library. The gradation responds to the active programmes and passive functions. Natural shade to the Library is provided under the denser planting on the western edge of the Plaza. On the southern and eastern edges the planting thins out creating clearings for markets, outdoor dining and other activities whilst opening out to The Drying Green. Residential and commercial developments surrounding the Plaza will benefit with views onto tree top canopies and elegant vertical tree trunks. The curated planting of the Flooded Gums will form the visual backdrop and foundation to the public art strategy.

The scent of the native bush will be apparent when arriving at the Plaza. Approaching from Green Square Station and Botany Road the visitor is greeted by a triangular grove of white Flooded Gum trunks, through which the new Library can be seen, setback in amongst the elegant tree trunks.

The ground treatment will be simple. Large scale paved stone surfaces and macadam will allow for multifunctional uses of the Plaza while softer islands of traffic-able planting will provide places for rest and contemplation under the dappled shade of the woodland canopy. Contrast in ground finish and changes in ground level will demarcate pedestrian and tram/bus zones. Paths of travel across the Plaza from adjoining streets will be meandering rather than succinct.

Public furniture will be movable, like the grand parks of Paris, where visitors to the public space are allowed to move chairs, tables and benches as required.

THE LIBRARY IS CONNECTED

Set within a clearing of the Plaza woodland, the Library building is a series of simple overlapping circular volumes pivoting from a central circulation core. The form eliminates hierarchy to the building’s facade, presenting a continuous ‘front face’ to the various approaches to the Library. The compact circular footprint of the iconic building will provide a strong identity and provide a visual, spatial and programmatic connection to the Green Square Town Centre.

A series of outdoor terraces in varying intimacies and orientations will be accessible from each floor to take advantage of sun, shade and breezes throughout the year.

An atrium centered over a water garden at ground level connects through each level, allowing natural light and stack ventilation through all floors. Its diameter will be substantial for Flooded Gums to grow up through the building creating a filtered canopy over the void.

The basement will house the necessary green technology and services programmes of the building. The ground floor will provide multiple entry points into the Library from which the rest of the building will be accessed via a combination of escalators, lifts and stairs. Public exhibition space, Library administration and children’s programmes will be on this level, including a secure, undercover children’s garden/play area. An opportunity for a cafe with undercover outdoor seating is also provided. The building will also provide a short spine to the proposed tram terminus that will integrate circulation to and access from this transport hub.

The first and second floors will house the Library’s main programmes. The third floor will open up to a series of flexible and multifunctional indoor/outdoor spaces with an operable roof and movable wall panels allowing spatial and weather flexibility.