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Bairnsdale Library Redevelopment

Bairnsdale's long anticipated library was opened on 10 April, 2014.


After receiving overwhelming public support for redeveloping the library on the current site; concept and detailed plans were developed. The Shire's commitment was supplemented by funding from the Victorian State Government through two funding streams: Putting Locals First and Living Libraries.



This picture was taken at the end of 2012 and shows the library prior to work commencing.




The new building incorporates the historic Mechanics' Institute Hall which has been the home of the library for more than half a century.  Architectural and decorative features of the hall were lovingly restored, but the unremarkable 1970s addition on its south side had to be demolished.  This allowed for the construction of a modern and vibrant new two storey building with a large civic space in the forecourt.


During the demolition and construction period, the library was temporarily relocated to the commercial building next door at 24 Service Street (former hardware store).  Works were undertaken to refurbish the space to provide the temporary library service and staff workroom.   


At 11am on Thursday, 10 April, the new library was officially opened and is receiving fantastic community support.


Bairnsdale Library after completion 01


Bairnsdale Library after completion 02 


Bairnsdale Library after completion 03 


Bairnsdale Library after completion 04


Bairnsdale Library after completion 05 


Bairnsdale Library after completion 06 


Bairnsdale Library after completion 07 


Bairnsdale Library 09 


Bairnsdale Library 10


Bairnsdale Library 11


Bairnsdale Library 12


Bairnsdale Library 13


Bairnsdale Library 14


Bairnsdale Library 15


Bairnsdale Library 16 



To keep the community informed and involved during the build, we regularly posted pictures, stories and information here as the project developed.  Scrolling down takes you back in time.



2014-03-07 timber panelling in meeting room one

A beautiful timber feature wall has been installed in meeting room 1.



2014-03-04 Library furniture furniture deliveries stored in the hall.

Three truck loads of furniture have been delivered so far. Most of this is library shelving. It all currently being stored in the hall which is filling up quickly and there's more furniture to come. 



"Soft Fall" rubber matting is being installed in the childrens area of the forecourt.



2014-02-04 Panel Doors

Once again the front of the hall features panelled doors just as it did in its heyday.


2014-02-04 Elevator Shaft

The elevator shaft is assembled.


2014-02-04 Bairnsdale Library's Glass Elevator

It is a glass elvator, but unlike the one in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, this one won't rise beyond the upper level.



2014-01-30 Circulation desk

The front desk has been delivered and is being assembled. The morning sun shows up the beautiful grain in the timber which the carpenter identified as messmate. He said the lower surface and kick plate will be clad with stone. 


2014-01-30 Reading courtyard furniture

The reading courtyard will be the place to be.


2014-01-30 Cast iron balcony 

The balcony glass is etched with the pattern of cast iron lacework.  It is a tribute to Hal Porter, the most famous of our former librarians, and author of numerous works including "The watcher on the cast iron balcony".



Laying of carpet tiles

The carpet layers are under pressure with glaziers waiting to move their scaffolding into position to install etched glass on the balcony above.


The bannisters are an interesting design

The complex framework for the bannisters on the staircase has been constructed and fitted in position.



2013-12-10 Stair treads added

Treads and risers have now been added to the staircase. The welder is measuring up to face the challenge of producing some very interesting banisters.


2013-12-10 Skylight at the top of the stairs

This view is what you would see if you look up as you exit the elevator on the second level.  It is a thermal chimney/skylight which allows hot air to escape which subsequently draws in cool air through pipes passing under the water storage tank beneath the forecourt plaza.


2013-12-10 Paving in the forecourt plaza

The forecourt plaza paving is almost complete.  There are only two more rows of white Bionictile ceramic cladding to go on the fascade of the staff workroom on the second level at the top left corner of this photo.



An impressive entrance.

It's quite an impressive entrance. Glazed automatic sliding doors will be fitted to either end of the copper clad tunnel.


Wall tiles and vinyl flooring in the public toilets

The public toilets on the ground floor feature glossy white wall tiles and contrasting vinyl flooring.  As well as the Ladies and Gents toilets, there is another with wheelchair access and a separate parenting room with a baby change table and feeding facilities.


A clear coat is applied to the timber window frames

A protective coat of clear finish is being applied to the timber framing of the front windows.



2013-11-18 Copper clad main entrance with integrated display cabinet 

The main entrance tunnel has been fully clad in copper and features integrated display cabinets.


2013-11-18 The spine of the staircase has been installed

Looking like it came from Jurassic Park, the spine of the main staircase has been installed ready for treads and risers.  The original back stairs onto Nicholson Street have been retained as an emergency exit.


2013-11-18 Sustainalble Bionictile cladding is being fixed to the western wall of the new building.

Sustainalble Bionictile cladding is being fixed to the western wall of the new building.  The cladding has photocatalytic properties that chemically reduce the levels of harmful nitrogen oxides created by motor vehicles and manufacturing processes.


For more information about this type of product follow this link http://www.infotile.com/pdfFile/advicetopic/10012012123800.pdf



A pair of doors on the north side of Bairnsdale Mechanics Institute, now Bairnsdale Library, being replaced with a window.

Double doors have been removed from this opening on Nicholson Street and replaced by a full length window.  This was actually a window when the building was first built but later converted to a doorway during alterations and extensions.


The removed doors will be used to replace the central window on the front of the building facing Service Street.  It was the original main entrance to the hall and featured identical doors. 



Concrete pouring in the forecourt plaza

Workers begin spreading several truckloads of concrete in the forecourt plaza.



Installation of ceiling roses to replace the originals which were damaged and missing.

Replica ceiling roses have been installed replacing what remained of the originals.  A photo added to this page on 28/05/2013 (scroll down), shows what was left of the only remaining rose.  The replicas appear to be the exact same design. One apprentice commented "I'm glad it wasn't me installing them. Altoghether, the three roses are assembled from over 170 separate pieces".



2013-10-16 Copper Sheeting on western entrance

An interesting design feature is copper sheeting at both main entrances. Just like library staff, the look of copper improves with age. This photo shows it being applied to the western entrance.



2013-10-09 New glazing on the eastern wall

The library is now at lock-up stage, and looks quite smart with all the big windows on the eastern frontage.  The glass has a hydrophobic coating to reduce the amount of cleaning required.



2013-10-08 Thermal Chimney - Skylight.

The new extension has two thermal chimney/skylights for energy efficient temperature control. This one is above the staff work room.


2013-10-08 Balcony overlooking the Mechanic's Hall.

This view from the floor of the old Mechanics' Hall (former library), shows how the removal of several sections of wall provides an open connection through to the new two storey addition. The balcony above provides a link from the second level into the old "Reading Room" which originally housed the library many decades ago but will soon hold the Hal Porter Study and the Local History Collection.


2013-10-08 Plastering under the newly created window.

Plastering inside the old Mechanics' Hall continues. This sheet is being installed directly above the newly created window.



2013-09-20 Forecourt Shelter.

The metal framwork of a shelter structure in the forecourt is lowered onto its foundations.



2013-09-19 Ornamental window converted into a real one - almost complete.

A day after the previous picture, the worker has almost completed demolition of the window opening.  He said that much care was needed when cutting out the arch. The lower rectangle was not so delicate, but heavy going due to the double brick construction.



2013-09-18 Ornamental window being converted into a real one

Is this Geppetto's work? This window was never real.  It was an ornamental design feature in a 1913 extension, and was made to fit in with the original 1889 style.  Just like the fictional storybook character Pinocchio, this fake window is being transformed into a real one.



Internal space viewed from children's area of the Bairnsdale Library redevelopment. 

A sense of space is achieved by creating an atrium in the front section of the new building.


Internal view from the second level of the Bairnsdale Library redevelopment. 

Hebel aerated concrete flooring on the second level is visible in this photo.  This material reduces noise transfer, has thermal insulating properties and is so light it can even float on water.


The elevator will be located against the full height section of the brick wall.  Another opening through the brickwork into the old building will be created on the upper level.



The western wall of the Bairnsdale Library redevelopment has been framed up.

External wall framing on the western facade is almost complete, and shows the use of smaller windows to help manage the interior temperature of the new library.


A front view of the Bairnsdale Library construction site showing wall framing and window dual glazing support struts.

Low-e glazing panels on this eastern wall form part of a high performance dual-glazed facade. The metal struts that can be seen horizontally protruding along the roof line and at the upper floor level will support a third wall of glass. 


The structure at the bottom left of this photo is Meeting Room 1 and shows how in good weather, the room can be opened out to the forecourt.



The new extension on the Bairnsdale Library redevelopment now has flooring on the second level.

Ross Brooker and site manager Clinton Dennett are pictured here behind the safety railing on the second level, which now has full flooring.  Considering the limited space on the site, it is remarkable how tidy they manage to keep it.



With the roof now on the new extension, work can continue in wet weather.

With a roof now over the new section, poor weather will have much less impact on the construction progress. 



Close up image showing the layers in the laminated vaneer lumber beam.

The timber beams are a Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) sourced from plantation grown radiata pine.  As most of the beams will remain exposed in the final fit out, the visual effect inside the library will be impressive. 


A computer controlled robotic cutting method enabled perfect alignment and precision jointing.

These precision joints were possible due to Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) using robotic controlled saws and routers in a process called Computer Numerical Control (CNC).  The beams fit together perfectly with barely room to slip a piece of paper between the joints.


From this junction, timber beams head off in six different directions.

Timber has a calming effect.  It's almost like we are instinctively primed to appreciate it.



View of framework as seen behind the temporary library.

Like a giant Meccano set, the gigantic beams are bolted together.  We are starting to get a perspective of the scale of the building.



Huge timber beams are lined up vertically on site.

Looking like a row of totem poles, vertical timber beams are lowered into position.



Opening for rear projection screen/window

A large window opening has been created.  This will allow more light to enter the main hall but will also serve as a rear projection screen for an outdoor cinema.



A large crane is used to position the prefabricated steel framework for the new library's front entrance.

A large crane is used to position a pre-fabricated steel framework into position.



 Plasterers re-skinning the Mechanics Hall ceiling

A team of plasterers work on re-skinning the ceiling in the old Mechanics Hall.



Opening between the former librarian's office and the new building.

One of the openings in the south wall provides a view into what was the librarian's office.  The large openings will give the ground floor of the new library a spacious open plan.



Pouring the slab for the new library just after 7am

It's just after 7.00 am and the pouring of the slab has already begun.


Workers spreading concrete for the new slab on the Bairnsdale Library redevelopment site.

Truckload after truckload of concrete is delivered and spread with the help of a pump.  After a couple of weeks of rain, the team welcomed a break in the weather to complete this important milestone.



New opening through to what was the librarian's office in the south west corner of Mechanic's Hall

Site manager Clinton Dennett gave staff a quick tour of the internal work which was undertaken while wet weather prevented progress outside. A section of the wall was removed at the south west corner of the Mechanics' Hall, opening into a room which was the librarian's office.


New opening through to the former Hal Porter Room in the north west corner of Mechanic's Hall

Another section of wall was removed to reveal the former Hal Porter Room.  Large glass doors will be fitted here at the entrance of what will be the smallest of three meeting rooms.  The Hal Porter Room and local history collection will be relocated to a larger room on the upper level which was the original library.



The inside of the Mechanics hall after removal of the modern heater ducting and false ceiling.

Work has begun on the Mechanics Hall. The obsolete heater ducting which supported the fluorescent lighting around the perimeter has been removed.  Removal of the suspended ceiling revealed that only one plaster ceiling rose remains in place. 


The only remaining ceiling rose.

Although badly damaged, what remains of the ceiling rose is enough to identify the style required for replacement roses.


Concrete panels erected over the weekend onsite at Bairnsdale Library redevelopment.

Using a large crane, pre-formed concrete panels have been mounted in position. This westerly facing opening will be a service enclosure.


Electricians lay cables and conduit in trenches at the Bairnsdale Library redevelopment site.

Electrical contractors lay cables and conduit in trenches on the Bairnsdale Library redevelopment site.



Concrete is poured to form footings for pre-formed panels

Footings are poured to support pre-formed concrete walls along the southern boundary of the site.



Plastic crates are stacked inside the membrane lined hole to form the water tank.

The water storage tank lining is in place and the first of three layers of crates have been packed in the bottom of the hole.  The plumbers have set pipes into a few of the crates which will be positioned to form the inlet and outlet of the tank.



Assembly of plastic cubes for water tank

Workers unpack stacks of plastic latticework squares and assemble them into cubes. Architect Daniel Coomber of Now Architecture explains that the plastic crates actually form the 58,000 litre underground water tank which will be located under the plaza. 

The tank will be constructed as follows:
  1. A hole is excavated in the ground.
  2. A plastic membrane will be placed in the excavation.
  3. The black plastic crates are stacked within the membrane as load bearing void formers.
  4. The membrane will then be folded over the top and fully sealed.
  5. The tank is then backfilled around and over.
More information on this tank system can be found at the manufacturer's website: http://www.elmich.com.au/versitank/about.php

The water in this underground tank will stay at about 15˚. The "coolth" of this water will be exchanged for use in the air conditioning systems. This will significantly reduce the amount of mechanical chilling required which saves on energy use and running costs. 

Further to the mechanical air conditioning system, there will be large diameter plastic pipes buried beneath the tank to allow for tempered fresh air to securely enter the Library at low level as part of the passive cooling and ventilation systems.  High level motorised windows will open and expel hot stuffy air which in turn will draw tempered fresh air through these pipes.  Finally the water in the tank will also be used to flush the toilets and water the gardens!

The first load of concrete is poured at Bairnsdale Library 30/04/2013

 The first delivery of concrete is poured along the the southern boundary of the vacant lot.



Bairnsdale Library Demolistion 11/04/2013


Bairnsdale Library Demolition 11/04/2013

Heavy equipment is brought in to carefully demolish the 1970s addition to the old Bairnsdale Library without damaging the historical building.



Fascade of temorary library at 24 Service Street Bairnsdale 

Bairnsdale Library is now operating in its temporary location at 24 Service Street.  This will be its home until the grand opening of the new redevelopment on the original site next door. 


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