Frank Bartlett Library & Service Centre by FJMT

Frank Bartlett Library & Service Centre by FJMT

Location: Moe, Australia
Segment: Public Space
Products Used: Beyond the Fold Collection in Expand Tile

Creating a Town Epicenter

The creation of the Frank Bartlett Library & Service Centre, a multi-purpose civic environment, has reinvigorated a town divided by geography and socio-economic disadvantage. Moe, located in Victoria’s Gippsland region, is separated by a rail line and lacked a central community gathering space. With an increased demand for inclusivity, a public market and festival and event space, the Latrobe City Council engaged FJMT to create a dynamic space that is both led and owned by residents. Dubbed simply ‘the community centre’ by locals, the building provides a strong and vibrant civic epicenter, uniting all demographics and connecting dislocated precincts of the town.

“There was a strong focus on creating diverse public urban spaces, to attract all demographics to the building and make full use of community rooms and the library. The client appointed locally sourced materials and trades to encourage sustainability outcomes, boost the local economy, and meet government targets for supporting local communities,” described FJMT.

Strategically placed communal areas draw visitors in and create organic interactivity, encouraging diversity in the space. By revitalizing the shopping strip along George Street with a new cafe and other public gathering areas, the design is a natural draw for residents to have coffee with friends or bump into someone new on the way in or out of the library.

Designing for Safety

Moe is located in an area of socio-economic disadvantage, with high rates of crime and unemployment. The project scope required consideration of the relationship to the adjacent railway station while maintaining clear lines of sight and minimal alcoves and dark areas at night. The built landscape has a sensitive approach to crime prevention, with ambient, thoughtful lighting locations, durable materials to encourage a respect for public property and good visual connection from the building to all areas of public outdoor space.

Supporting the Local Economy

During construction, locally sourced materials and trades were used to encourage sustainable outcomes and boost the local economy. Working within a modest budget, the architecture achieves an urban transformation that is sensitive to the community’s resources and population both today and in the future.

A distinct focus on the local environment also sets the new community centre apart. The site adjacent to the rail line and station was previously a brown field and was comprehensively cleaned prior to construction. Natural, locally sourced materials such as timber and steel were incorporated, as well as a thermally-broken high performance glazing system, with high overhanging shading to reduce heat gain in the warmer months. The built form is also passively orientated (to the North) to assist with solar gain and reflection. A displaced air-conditioning system works to maintain the most efficient cooling system available, and night purge is included to release hot air. Fixtures selected were low water use, and there is a complex rainwater harvesting system onsite.

Using Shaw Contract

“Because this project brief brought together so many different functions in one building, it was important that the flooring became the cohesive element to tie the design intent throughout the building between the many and varied spaces. The challenge then was to ensure that whilst the building finishes took a cohesive approach, they also assisted in giving identity to each of the special areas or groups,” FJMT revealed.

“By using Shaw {Contract] product, we were able to variegate the finish through the building, in order to give spaces identity, but also to ensure that they worked together to create a whole. The carpet also assisted in some areas in providing a foil for the rich natural timber and concrete architectural elements. Its job was to provide texture and life to the flooring, but not so much as to overpower the feature design elements.

The sustainable qualities of the carpet were crucial in order to meet the project’s design objective of sustainability. Whilst there was no formal LEED equivalent (Greenstar) objective on this project, the firm and the client were keen to maximise sustainability initiatives.”

The Frank Bartlett Library & Service Centre is an inclusive and welcoming environment— a place that brings the community together and marks the shared aspirations of the town. Congratulations on establishing a community fixture in Moe, FJMT!

Congratulations FJMT for your winning project in the 2017 Shaw Contract Design Awards!


< View the other 2017 Global Winners