As the Heritage Hall ran along the full length of the northern edge of the site, taking up the entire desired northern aspect, NOWarchitecture elected to make use of east facing glazing on the front façade and for this reason, the glass performance was paramount and this is where LoE-366 came in. “LoE-366 provided the best combination of insulation, natural daylighting and transparency with low reflectance”, says Neville. He added that in combination with the timber structure and the Raico Therm + glazing system, the LoE-366 made for an extremely high value system, with higher insulation levels and lower cost than conventional aluminium facade systems.
Beyond its function as a traditional library, this building serves as a community hub with meeting rooms, a cafeteria and a range of formal and informal reading and research spaces. The new building respects the urban form of the heritage building by replicating its scale and form. Receding the extension has retained the streetscape focus on the heritage facade and creates a community plaza space with a cinema, children’s play area and a sheltered outdoor meeting place.
Innovative and holistic environmental design has reduced operation and energy costs and provides a warm aesthetic based on an exposed plantation timber structures. The high performance of the LoE-366 glass facaded atrium and a passive hydrothermal air conditioning system provides excellent natural lighting, thermal comfort and air quality. “The glazing of the facade has been a crucial factor in the success of the building by providing a facade with a U value of 1.36 while providing high levels of natural lighting”, says Neville. The high level of transparency has also been important in engaging the public and in the aesthetic response to the heritage building. The high level of visibility into the building from the street and the use of LED internal lighting ensures security of the plaza forecourt and promotion of the Library at night.
Neville notes that the product and material selections were based on value for money both in construction and ongoing costs, for example; the joinery quality structure allowed secondary finishes to be significantly reduced which then in turn reduces costs and increases value; the glazing system incorporating approximately 140 sq.m of performance LoE-366 glass, timber framed, double glazed facade ensures that daylighting levels are increased whilst heat gain and loss is reduced, and the LoE-366 glass, with its Neat® easy-clean coating, is practically self-cleaning.
NOWarchitecture and the client are currently monitoring on-going energy usage and have observed significant reductions in energy use. Michael Gleeson, General Manager of Glassworks, notes that “while low-emissivity glass is nothing new and LoE-366 glass is already being adopted across Europe and America, the fantastic result of the Bairnsdale Library could well be an Australian landmark project, demonstrating the performance and aesthetic potential of this low-e glass”.
The Bairnsdale Library Upgrade was opened on 10 April 2014, with over 3000 community members in attendance on that day. The client stated, “since the opening, the number of people using the facility has essentially tripled, there are many more individuals and community groups enjoying the very high quality public and welcoming space that has been created. Council is extremely happy with the outcome achieved”.