Commissioned by Bankstown City Council (BCC) and designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (fjmt),The Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre (BLaKC) sets a new benchmark in sustainable design through the adaptive reuse, salvage, recycling and renovation of the existing Bankstown Town Hall. Located in the heart of Bankstown, the development serves to revitalise a dislocated site and create a rich spatial experience for community members and visitors.
The design brief was two-fold; ‘to create a sustainable building with a distinct architectural character and to develop an accessible and inviting public space’. As a result the BLaKC is not just a repository for books but a hybrid community hub which plays a significant role within the Bankstown civic precinct.
The design offers an integrated, inclusive and flexible space containing; a new library over three levels, a three-hundred seat theatre, community conference facilities, new cafe and community information wall. Public domain improvements for the redevelopment of Paul Keating Park, addition of an aquatic sculpture garden, new street trees and off-street parking for sixty-four cars and an all-weather bus drop-off zone. The modernized facilities and surrounding public space encourages visitors to exchange ideas, interact spontaneously and participate in community programs.
Sustainable design principles and innovative high performance environmental systems informed design decisions to create an integrated and flexible cultural asset for the local community. A bespoke repurposing strategy underpins the BlaKC architectural design and sets a new benchmark for applying ‘found’ and ‘recycled’ materials to hybrid public building projects. An opportunity to salvage and reuse materials from the existing Town Hall became apparent in the initial stages of development. High quality materials salvaged from the existing Town Hall include; Australian hardwood timbers (Tallowwood, Tasmanian Oak and Blackbutt), precast concrete panels, aluminium roof sheeting and stainless steel joinery.