Mark Magazine – Issue 34
Bold use of Trespa paneling and a wall patterned with local inspiration have created an eye-catching library and learning centre in Avondale Heights, a leafy suburb of Melbourne. Local firm H2o, which prides itself on the creative reuse of existing structures explored cultural aspirations reflected in the housing choices and style of the surrounding neighbourhood.
The budget dictated a simple and formal rejuvenation of the two dated council buildings in question. H2o’s solution combines pop art and bright colours reminiscent of its previous work, along with a salute to Australian comic Barry Humphries and artist Howard Arkley, to create a charismatic and inviting building for the community.
‘The trompe l’oil portrait wall expresses the “embedded” interior, inspired by a response to Humphries’ satire and to Arkley’s suburban iconography,’ says Tim Hurburgh of H2o. The south wall features an eclectic palatte of ‘found’ resources – colour, patterning, ceramic tile and timber slats – that reference the locale. A black-painted structure defines the façade elements and frames the Trespa cladding; the result can be compared to a cartoon drawing.
Exterior geometries reappear inside the complex, and windows are positioned to break the formality of the programme, allowing for study breaks and group reading areas. Hurburgh explains that lightly tinted glass was used ‘as a device to provide visual relief and to reinforce the facility’s character as non-intuitional and welcoming’.
Text: Lorna Gibson