Public demand for sustainable community spaces drives construction of award winning library

A gorgeous and inviting library in Sydney’s inner-west, designed in response to calls from residents for a building that is ‘kind to the planet’, claimed the coveted top prize at December’s 2020 Australian Timber Design Awards.

As the event organisers prepare to open entries for this year’s awards, industry is being encouraged to submit examples of excellence in timber design, as worthy contenders are sought for the 2021 accolade.

The beautifully crafted Marrickville Library was a collaborative effort between architectural firm BVN, and engineering consultancy Taylor Thomson Whitting. The team used timber for the building’s columns, facade, screening, internal walls, window and door frames, tiered seating, joinery, ceilings and furniture. The result is a warm, welcoming and functional community hub.

All timber used in the build was sourced from recycled wood or certified sustainable sources, and was chosen instead of aluminium and steel to take advantage of significant savings on carbon emissions. A wide range of timber species was utilised, including jarrah, red and white mahogany, spruce, tallow wood, hoop and radiata pine, and New Guinea rosewood.

As BVN explained in its entry, the building’s use of timber is a nod to the history of the site. Marrickville was once an important source of timber for the construction industry, meaning the design successfully connects the area’s past with its present, while simultaneously satisfying an increasing desire for community spaces centred on sustainability and inspired design.

“I would like to congratulate BVN, Taylor Thomson Whitting, and all entrants on their excellent work. This hugely impressive result perfectly showcases the versatility and sustainability of timber and timber products, and the many ways they bring value to construction,” said Eileen Newbury, WoodSolutions Program Manager.

The awards also featured a Rising Star category, open to students and entrants aged 35 or below. The Coppin Street Studio — designed by Bo Chu, Creative Director at Pitch Architecture and Design, and built by Seed Project Group — took out this category for 2020.

See the virtual award night presentation on YouTube and the full list of winners online.

Now entering their 22nd year, the awards serve to showcase, promote and encourage the outstanding use of timber in construction. They are open to builders, designers, architects, engineers, landscapers, and anyone else involved in the design or build of timber structures.

“Entries for the 2021 Timber Design Awards are due to open soon, and we are actively encouraging submissions from anyone involved with the creation of a beautiful timber structure, or members of the public who have admired a building they think would be a worthy winner,” said Newbury.