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ACU Library Recognised by Industry Awards

BigCity Design is extremely thrilled to advise that their design for the ACU North Sydney Library project has been recognised by two industry awards bodies this year.  The project has been shortlisted for the IDEA Design Excellence Awards and was a finalist in the Sydney Design Awards.

The Sydney Design Awards are especially significant in that they recognise both the commissioner and project team.

Please click on the link below to hear our client’s testimonial where they talk about the design and project experience and how BigCity Design delivered a great project for the ACU.

Australian Catholic University’s student facilities in North Sydney were ageing and lacked the sense of community and belonging for which the university is renowned. The North Sydney campus attracts students from around the world.

The brief was to create a new learning hub in the location of the existing North Sydney library and adjacent teaching spaces. The refurbished environment was to be inclusive and familiar to the student community while encouraging social interaction and supporting teaching strategy.

The project site, on the lower ground floor of an existing late 20th century building, was neither inspiring to its occupants, nor engaged with its environment. As a building located within a small site adjacent to a restrictive residential zone, it offered little opportunity to create dialogue with its surrounds.

Existing student facilities lacked a sense of place, or belonging. The previous library was cramped, poorly planned, and difficult to navigate. Wasted space and poor environmental services were uninviting and lacklustre. Groups of students strewn along narrow corridors would roll aside to allow passers-by through. There was no sense of purpose and no purposeful ownership.

The refurbishment project provided an opportunity to introduce vitality, youth and place into the previously uninspired campus.

“When strangers start acting like neighbours…communities are reinvigorated”  Ralph Nader

BigCity Design developed a ‘neighbourhood’ concept that introduces strong yet familiar spatial elements to create a sense of community and belonging that encourages students to stay, learn, interact and relax. The design incorporates informal and formal learning, collaborative areas and social spaces that effortlessly merge into a comfortable yet highly functional environment that supports the university’s teaching strategy.

The hearth, in the heart of the neighbourhood, is a welcoming, informal lounge for students to meet, relax and put up their feet. The reading room’s large, welcoming timber table with low-hung lighting invites you to sit, read and exchange ideas. The village green is a collaborative zone for conversation, laughter and contemplation. The transit zone allows you to grab information on the run. The law collection is reminiscent of a well-stocked personal library where you can focus on your book. The industrial zone is purposeful, energetic and supportive of animated group banter. The individual study zone is reflective and contemplative, and located away from distractions.

The refurbished library and learning commons belongs to the vibrant student community and serves its neighbourhood well.