Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero Auckland Central Library Adaptation
Once upon a time (2015), a cunning library manager learnt that routine maintenance was being undertaken on the public areas of Auckland Central Library. This included like-for-like replacement of the carpet and requiring all the collection, furniture and shelving to bemoved.
Athfield Architects were asked: “We are seeking inspiration and fresh thinking on a shoe string!” – could it all be put back in a different arrangement to address the functional problems, improve visitor experience and support the library staff’s delivery of Auckland Libraries 21st Century ServiceModel?
Athfield Architects undertook a spatial review of the building and through stakeholder consultation, site analysis and benchmarking against (inter)national best practice - ‘Big Picture’ principles were conceived for the wholebuilding.
By this time (2017/18) the budget had shrunk to an “aglet” and so the available tools consisted of the existing furniture, collection, some timber, paint, vinyl graphics and….the existing carpetpattern.
The small adaptation project builds from and amplifies the strengths of the existing library and complements its qualities with new insertions – spread as far and as wide over the 3 floors aspossible.
"The best thing? An inspired library manager at Auckland Central Library discovered they were going to replace the carpets, so she called in Athfield Architects to see what they could do with the money. The result is a revelation: light and bright has replaced the dimness, there's much better arrangement of work stations and benches, much better signage, some fabulous stick-on graphic design and, on one wall, a beautiful, engrossing, educational and utterly charming mural. (The mural and other graphics are by recent graduate Frances Cooper.) And they never even got rid of thecarpet."
Excerpt from 'Is your home really your castle?' by Simon Wilson, Canvas Magazine, 05 May2019.