The Ivanhoe Library and Cultural hub is a community facility with a difference.
As Banyule City Council intended, it brings different people and services together, under the one roof, providing an accessible and inclusive space to embrace learning and cultural experiences, all year round. A place where people visit for one service and, while there, experience something totally different.
So, it’s much more than home to a collection of books (despite its new state-of-the-art, multi-floored library).
The Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub also offers several art spaces–including a gallery, theatrette and artist studio–to showcase artistic talents and encourage activity and collaborations–as well as various program rooms for workshops and talks, and a maternal and child health centre.
There’s something for everyone.
Croxon Ramsay is the brainchild behind its innovative, well-considered design, which clearly celebrates the old, and respectfully merges it with the new. Both in terms of welcoming the oldest and newest members of the community to use its myriad of facilities, and combining historic, old buildings with a contemporary new addition.
Delivering the perfect balance between the two is where their brilliance lies.
Located next to the historic Ivanhoe Town Hall, Croxon Ramsay’s welcoming, contemporary addition is sensitive to the historic nature of the building, while offering a series of flexible spaces to encourage service intermingling. For instance, the function centre of the old Town Hall connects to the new foyer, so the doors of the Town Hall can be opened and the foyer used as a pre or post function drinks area; a dedicated space in the library can be used by the artist in residence to run programs for teens; and a café in the foyer, currently run by the function centre, will eventually become a social enterprise where young adults can work and gain hospitality experience.
The building’s natural, earthy material palette also celebrates the merging of old and new.
A beautiful curved wall of Krause bricks in custom colours greets you at the front entrance. To complement the brick and the external landscaping, a green powder-coated metal façade–both plain and perforated–provides much-needed sun protection to the southeast corner, which is heavily glazed to maximise breathtaking city views.
Inside, the Krause bricks continue, bringing tactility and warmth into the building.
“The Krause bricks are very tactile and have that handmade feeling about them. And the colour and texture work well with the old building, which is a redder brick. We chose something that would complement that, but look different, and not match it. Krause is a contemporary brick, but it works well with the existing one,” says Catherine Ramsay, Director, Croxon Ramsay Architects.
“And when you walk into the atrium of the new building, you see the back of the old building, which provides that sense of history, but at the same time you are bringing it together with the new,” Catherine continues.
It’s not only the brick’s aesthetics that appealed, but the fact that they’re locally made in Stawell, offering a sustainable solution. As does the Recycled Silver Top Ash, which pairs beautifully with the bricks. The timber is used extensively throughout the building on the floor, ceiling, stairs, wall veneer and as a glued laminated timber that’s used as privacy screens to break up the spaces within the library, enabling people to use the space for different purposes.
Together, it’s a warm, welcoming palette that’s seamless outside and in.
The Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Centre is sure to become a benchmark in Victoria for future developments. Council is receiving fantastic community feedback, and it was presented as a standout case study by Croxon Ramsay at the Victorian State Library conference in June.
Indeed, Croxon Ramsay is to be congratulated for delivering such an innovative building that provides the perfect between old and new. It not only welcomes the old Ivanhoe community, but new residents, too. And more than that, it seamlessly mixes different services in the one location, openly promoting learning and literacy, and enabling people to connect with others in their community who they may not otherwise normally engage with. That’s what sets this initiative apart.
Architect: Croxon Ramsay Architects
Product: Krause bricks, custom colours
Building: Buxton Construction
Bricklayer: McGaw Constructions
Photographer: Dianna Snape , Steven Vidovic