Why is this project important for Wollongong?
Council is committed to supporting cohesive, creative and resilient local communities across the city and we are excited to release preliminary designs for our new Community Centre and Library at Warrawong.
The project represents a significant investment in the future of our city, delivering a multipurpose community centre and library that will contribute to community life in the south-eastern suburbs of the city.
Where will it be located?
The site identified for the new community centre and library is on the corner of King and Greene Streets in Warrawong. The new building will be located on a parcel of land that includes the site of the existing community centre on Greene Street plus a number of properties along King Street.
What suburbs will be serviced by this facility?
The new community facility will provide for the needs of people who live in the southern suburbs of Berkeley, Lake Heights, Cringila, Warrawong, Port Kembla, Primbee and Windang.
What will be included in the Community Centre and Library?
This new centre will provide similar spaces, services and opportunities for the community to come together, similar to Council’s other community centres and libraries, located at Corrimal, Dapto and Thirroul. However, the new centre will feature greater integration of community and library spaces, across a multi-level building, reflecting the latest approaches to facilities design.
How have we included ideas from the community into the design?
Following community engagement in May 2019 Council has listened to the ideas and comments received and incorporated these into the design of the new community centre and library project. Key themes such as creating culturally inclusive, safe, and welcoming spaces; accessible and functional facilities; and landscaping, greenery, and play spaces were identified by the community as essential to the project.
How will this new public space support community activities?
The design of the building provides a generous forecourt and a “Community Veranda” with seating and steps overlooking the green space of the town square.
The town square proposes both passive and active recreation, including a large, grassed area with trees and gardens, and a series of play, recreation and seating spaces. The town square is designed to look back toward the “Community Veranda” area and complement the entrances to the new building.
The ground floor will include a “Community Hub” that will be accessible from the “Community Veranda” and the town square. The Community Hub will include a bookable meeting room, community kitchen, community storage areas and amenities. Offices for community providers will be located adjacent to this space.
The ground floor includes a stepped terrace that will create opportunities for events and talks and will provide a passive reading and recreation space. The terrace will include stairs to level 1 above, and lifts will be located nearby.
An atrium in the centre of the building, above the entry and the seating terrace, will provide a visual link to the new town square, and through to King Street. The atrium and seating terrace form the “heart” of the building, with large and small meeting rooms, activity spaces, quiet study and office areas extending from the atrium space. Each room will be light-filled and will be designed for multi-functional use.
Leading from a feature stair over the atrium, the upper floor contains a large and welcoming foyer overlooking the town square, with a bookable large community meeting room off this space. The large meeting room will be sun-lit from above by an intricate skylight roof feature and will provide a centrepiece to the new facility.
The upper level includes large and small meeting rooms and offices and features a common kitchen and amenities. The upper floor also provides a lounge area and a place for quiet study.
Free public Wi-Fi will be provided to the whole of the building and to the “Community Veranda” for the use of library members, which will provide ‘plug-and-play’ access to personal devices. Wollongong Libraries provides a wealth of online resources including access to books, magazines, films and tv shows which will be accessible through Wi-Fi.
Who has undertaken the design?
Council has engaged a lead architect, fjcstudio, which is renowned for designing award-winning public buildings and spaces including library and community centres. The architect has prepared a concept design for the project with Council, and we are now presenting this to the community.
Working with the architect, Council identified an opportunity to create a new town square alongside the new community centre and library. The multi-storey design of the building allows for a town square area to be provided, with a north-facing aspect to Greene Street. The town square will complement the new building and will provide much-needed green space and play space to the Warrawong town centre.
What also helps guide the design?
Council recognises the benefits of good design in providing quality assets for the benefit of the community. Council is actively following the NSW Government’s Better Placed guidelines to promote exceptional public spaces, and to ensure that a high-quality project is delivered for the use of the community.
The new building will meet Council’s sustainability policy (including energy, water, greenhouse gas emission targets), with plant rooms and services included in a roof-top level.
How will pedestrians be able to access the area?
A series of pedestrian and shared laneways are included, which will connect the new town square and the new community centre and library building to both King and Cowper Streets. The town square and laneway concepts were first put forward in the Warrawong Town Centre Masterplan, and the spaces are designed to link with the Warrawong Streetscape Upgrade project.
Will the existing licensees in the Warrawong Community Centre be accommodated?
Council intends to build on the services provided by the existing Warrawong library, and the existing Warrawong Community Centre within the larger, purpose-designed spaces that the new facility will offer. Council is working with our existing licensees to ensure their accommodation in the new centre and consulting with key stakeholders concerning future services.
What activities would placemaking involve?
As we go about the more detailed design of the Town Square we may ask for your ideas on it's spatial layout, greening with trees and plants, signage, public art and how it can function to support community events.