When you live in place as hot as Australia, it can be hard to stop yourself from switching on the air conditioning. To set an example for sustainable architecture, Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp designed the Craigieburn Library to use natural and energy-efficient construction methods to keep cool. Heavy rammed earth walls surround the library to absorb daytime heat, while louvered screens reduce solar heat gain.
Located just north of Melbourne in a fast-growing municipality, the Craigieburn Library serves as a key learning center and public gathering space for the community. FJMT used locally sourced earth as the library’s primary building material to connect the architecture with the natural landscape and to set a new benchmark in sustainable design for the rapidly developing community. To balance out the heavy rammed earth walls, the architects attached lightweight and slatted steel and timber-treated canopies.
“Through the rammed earth, we are seeking a direct transformation of the ground of the site into built form, in a sense wrapping the earth of the site around the lightweight veranda like pavilions that open out to this extended horizontal landscape,” writes FJMT in a press release. The louvered roofs project from the library’s series of interlocking pavilions that are equipped with full-height windows to provide views and bring in natural daylight. The interlocking sections of the library vary in height and scale and step down into the earth to form a two-story building partially buried beneath ground.
Images via Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, © Trevor Mein