The new cultural heart of Shellharbour, in the NSW Illawarra region, incorporates a plaza and public library, a 350-seat auditorium and museum space, community rooms, local council chambers, offices and service centre, with 170 car parking spaces for staff and public use. Occupying a steep site between commercial and residential zones, the building has a complex curved roof structure that mediates the different street alignments and contours, and extends shading around its perimeter.
Architecture and urban spaces that incorporate principles of biophilic design have more relevance to a place and offer a more positive and meaningful experience for users. Shellharbour Civic Centre, designed by DesignInc and Lacoste + Stevenson, is inspired by its natural surroundings and is a subliminal representation of Shellharbour’s coastal landscape.
Some elements of biophilic design that are embodied in the project include:
- The long and low volume sweeping across the site mimicks the contours of the land.
- The gabion wall cladding at the base of the building is filled with blue metal stones, reflecting the colours and form of the nearby escarpment.
- The library and public spaces are enclosed with glass and timber posts to evoke the Illawarra forests.
- The white soffit accentuates he wave-like form of the roof, referencing the surf, and white cladding on the tower is suggestive of fluid clouds.
'The building evokes wonder and embraces nature through views, natural light and material choices. It is a wonderful architectural expression of the Shellharbour community and landscape',
Richard Does, Director at DesignInc Sydney, on biophilic design and how it relates to Shellharbour Civic Hub.
- Good Design Awards, Public Space, Award of Excellence for Architecture and Urban Design 2020
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Civic Landscape, Award of Excellence 2020
- Public Architecture Award, NSW Australian Institute of Architects 2019
- City Library Award, Australian Library and Information Association 2019