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The Albury LibraryMuseum was the first combined facility of its kind in Australia and opened in July 2007.
Local company, Zauner Constructions, executed the award-winning design of internationally renowned architects, Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM), whose credentials include the impressive National Museum of Australia.
- Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Award for Public Architecture 2008
- AIA (Victorian Architecture Awards) Award for Public Architecture 2008
- COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture (Vic.) 2008.
- Featured among other outstanding architectural designs from around the world in a book called Cultural Centres: Architecture 1990-2011 by Cecilia Bione (ISBN 9788864130026) (shelf location 725 BIO)
Many of the design elements are drawn from the Albury region and environment.
- The foyer is the hub of the facility and draws on the idea of a hangar or shed, having originally been the site of the Robbins and Porter garage. The library and museum form two wings, extending from the foyer in an L-shape.
- Ceiling heights recede from seven metres in the foyer to three metres in the Kidspace, imitating the contours of the surrounding hills; in the same way, the floor in Kidspace rises in wide steps to create low amphitheatre seating.
- Lighting suspended between ceiling panels playfully suggests night driving on the Hume Freeway. This playful aspect is continued with the secreted addition of two letter Zs by Zauner Construction – see if you can locate a small red Z inside the building and another on the Kiewa Street facade.
- The museum wing comprises three interlocking galleries featuring coved cornices reminiscent of railway carriage interiors. The oversized cornices create an intimacy in the viewing spaces.
- Curved, elongated display cabinets through the middle of the Crossing Place exhibition are symbolic of the Murray River.
- The library area uses natural lighting, boldly coloured wood paneling and the lines of the ceiling to create a bright, open space that is the living room of the city. The mezzanine level, accessed via lift or stairs, allows you to take in the impressive space.
- The warm red timber paneling in the stairwell and internal walls takes its inspiration from the Murray River Red Gums and other vegetation.
- Sustainability features include solar hot water, rainwater harvesting for toilets and landscape irrigation, energy-rated light fittings and equipment.
- The west façade on Kiewa Street draws on the architecture of the 1884 iron railway bridge over the Murray River. The large crosses, clad in aluminium, progressively narrow to take the appearance of a bend in the river.
- The river theme continues into the forecourt where the paving forms the currents of the river. Islands in the river are represented by raised grass beds and tree plantings.
- The Swift Street wall forms the levees and embankments of the river, with trees planted as a symbolic gesture against erosion.
- The corrugated design and bands of green on the eastern elevation (facing QEII Square) reflect the undulation of levee banks.