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‘Reading revolution’ key to double library award

ATTENTION The editor 1 April 2004

‘Reading revolution’ key to double library award for architects

A desire to encourage literacy and learning is a major factor behind a double New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Resene New Zealand Award win for leading architecture firm Warren and Mahoney.

The firm’s work in designing Paraparaumu Library and South Christchurch Library was recognised today by a national panel of judges. Both projects are now shortlisted for the Supreme New Zealand Award to be announced in May.

Warren and Mahoney Director Andrew Barclay attributed the firm’s success to a revolution in the way architecture is being used to keep New Zealanders reading and learning.

“There is a wave of public library construction and refurbishment occurring throughout the country and this is being driven by a desire to keep libraries at the forefront of efforts to champion a literate society.

“This means libraries are no longer designed as just repositories for books. Today’s libraries are an extension of our living rooms and the way we’re interpreting this in our designs is proving a powerful means for attracting people through the doors,” he said.

Visitors to the South Christchurch Library, for example, can read on outdoor ‘islands’ in the surrounding moat or take a break in the interior café while children play PlayStations.

Christchurch Libraries Manager Sue Sutherland said South Christchurch Library has proved immensely popular with users.

“The library had 148,412 visitors in its first four months and is our second equal largest community library in terms of visitors.”

Visitor numbers have also boomed at the new Paraparaumu Library said District Libraries Manager Barbara Whitton.

“We had 246,500 visitors in our first year since opening and the number of items issued is up by around 30% compared to the old library.”

Warren and Mahoney Director John Coop said diversification of services is another important aspect of the changes in library design.

“Books remain at the heart of what libraries offer, but facilities catering for wider community needs, particularly education, are now included under the same roof. The result is that libraries are playing an even greater role in maintaining our social fabric,” he said.

The Paraparaumu Library, for example, features an exhibition space for local artists and a collection of local historic and genealogical materials while South Christchurch Library boasts a council service centre and a Learning Centre that includes three rooms with 30 computers for use by school and community groups.

Another feature of the Warren and Mahoney designed libraries is their emphasis on environmental sustainability. Both libraries incorporate specialist design features, such as natural ventilation rather than air conditioning, to provide substantial long-term benefits for the environment and users.

Warren and Mahoney library projects

Warren and Mahoney’s ‘library team’ has designed a range of New Zealand libraries.

Karori Library currently in design
Glen Eden Library under construction – due for completion 2004
Whangaparoa Library under construction – due for completion 2004
Christchurch City Libraries:
- South Christchurch Library, Learning and Service Centre
- New Brighton Library and Pier Terminus
opened August 2003

completed July 1999
Auckland University Student Amenities Centre & Information Commons opened August 2003
Paraparaumu Library opened November 2002

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