Birkenhead Library & Civic Centre that located in Auckland, New Zealand, was designed by archoffice. The architectural concept for the Birkenhead Library is based around a simple narrative of looking through ancient existing trees on the site to the view – thus notions of solid and void, transparency, light quality, pattern and form were considered and modelled to inform various design issues. The intention was to have a pleasant and verdant quality of light available within the building that subtly changes during the day, leading to the building becoming transparent at night. The use of brick is a reference back to the old Plunket buildings that once occupied the site and provides a strong organisational element to the building’s design.
The building enjoys a unique setting in the existing elevated Neil Fisher War Memorial Reserve. The reserve has been upgraded to both complement and enhance the building and the library is positioned to take account of the expansive and panoramic views available including Rangitoto and Coromandel in the east and the Waitakeres in the west. It combines Wi Fi, RFID, Internet and BMS technologies within contemporary architecture, space planning and design. On site public parking for thirty one cars within the building and a drive through book return have been provided.