The new library building for Edith Cowan University in Perth is a four storey concrete structure with steel roof and represents an exemplar of what can be achieved in university buildings. The university describes it as a 'marketplace for learning and communication.' As well as the library, the building also contains media and IT services, an e-lab, staff accommodation, a café and a bookshop which provide a student hub for the entire campus and a new gateway for the public opening off Grand Boulevard. The amenities are provided primarily on two floors and generous voids make these connections both visually and physically. Elements such as the café and special IT rooms punch through the elevations in a more sculptural manner.
Internally, great emphasis has been put on place-making to encourage students to use the building, and the library in particular. The furniture and internal decoration has been carefully considered in all areas and has been used to exaggerate these learning environments. The building has also been designed using a sound set of environmental strategies which focus primarily on orientation, insulation, light quality, sun shading and energy, while the entire building is connected to the University’s thermal storage system.
The glazed façades to the north and south are fully shaded using a woven grid of aluminium fins. The sun shading is horizontal to the north and vertical to the south. The three colours used for the sun shades - yellow, blue and white - have been derived from pixels of the photographs taken of some of the indigenous plants of the district. This sculptural element of the building is very powerful and adds to the civic nature of the design. It also responds subtly to the changing light, shimmering by day and glowing at sunset. This building is the first new building to be built within their new master plan and sets a high standard for the campus buildings that follow.