situated in a sweeping valley surrounded by prominent mountain ranges in victoria‘s gippsland, the frank bartlett memorial library and moe serice centre are completed by award-winning australian practice francis-jones morehen thorp (FJMT). the small regional town of moe is viewed as the poor cousin of its neighbours; unemployment is high and there has been no recent development with residents having to travel for key services. nevertheless, there was a real sense of expectation when the hoarding came down at the old car park site on the rail line as the library and community building were unveiled. 


the civic plaza at dusk

 

 

FJMT has conceived the project as two timber portals over a landscaped and curved podium embodying community and civic pride. the gently curved and stepped platform follows the line of the railway, shielding the noise and impact of the trains while opening up to the town centre to create a sunlit public square and community focus. suspended above this curved podium and dramatically cantilevering over the pubic space are two timber clad volumes oriented directly down the main street, forming a focus for this civic vista. 

 

‘it is truly a place for everyone to feel welcome and included, a place that brings the community together and that marks the shared aspirations of the town. moe has a new sense of place and a new way to appreciate its natural beauty,’ expresses FJMT. 


curved forms maximize public space along the george st promenade, reducing potential wind effects down moore st

 

 

the complex has ultimately reinvigorated a town previously bifurcated by the rail line and lacking a central community gathering space. dubbed simply ‘the community centre’ by locals, the building provides a strong and vibrant civic heart uniting all demographics and connecting dislocated precincts of the town. the community is embracing opportunities for markets, festival and public events.


library reception desk

 

 

the latrobe city council has invited residents to use the facilities for community groups based on their personal interests, and enjoy the dynamic space designed to be led and owned by locals. during construction, locally sourced materials and trades encouraged sustainable outcomes and boosted the local economy. within a modest budget, the architecture seeks an inviting and open monumentality; a significance and dignity achieved through a sensitive urban transformation and carefully crafted materials and assembly.


community exploring the library on opening day


library interior


community spaces on level 2


the library caters for different age groups


the complex has unique and unimpeded views o fmount baw baw and the strezlecki ranges


the building is designed to be a bold, visible landmark from an approach in any direction


green roof and ramped landscape provides valuable public open space at height and views previously not accessible


the north-facing public plaza is curved in form to embrace activities and community.

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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