The Library at the Dock, Melbourne, Victoria - Make it Wood News

The Library at the Dock, Melbourne, Victoria

Date: 04-Jun-14
Author: Chris Philpot

Planet Ark congratulates City of Melbourne's Library at the Dock on winning the Sustainability Award at the 2014 Australian Timber Design Awards.

The Australian Timber Design Awards is a national competition to promote and encourage outstanding timber design in both residential and commercial applications. The winners were announced at the annual dinner held at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

Library at the Dock is constructed primarily from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and recycled hardwood and is Australia's first six-star green star as built building under the public buildings rating tool from Green Building Council Australia.

The unique contrast of reclaimed old timber with the latest innovation of CLT construction celebrates history while embracing 21st century technology.

The project has been delivered through a unique tri-partnership between the City of Melbourne, Lend Lease and the state government through Places Victoria. The design architect is Clare Design, with Hayball engaged as architect of record.

library at the dock


What is it?

The three storey, 21st century library is situated on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour in Melbourne's Docklands. As well as a holding traditional library collection, the library offers an interactive learning environment, an impressive digital collection, multi-purpose community spaces and a performance venue that holds 120 people.



What is it made from?

  • 1,000 cubic metres of European Spruce CLT
  • The façade consists of recycled Ironbark and Tallowwood timber that complements the promenade decking. The decking is made from reclaimed timber from the Victoria Harbour south wharf, giving new life to the local area's historical past.
  • 100 year old solid Ironbark timber reclaimed from a demolished bridge in Queensland.
  • 55,000 screws
  • 110,000 nails
  • Almost eight tones of brackets.


What are its benefits?

The use of CLT for the library's structure significantly reduced the building's carbon footprint. Library at The Dock is Australia's first public building made from CLT.

CLT is prefabricated by gluing together layers of plantation spruce timber at 90 degrees to each other, resulting in a structural panel of similar load-bearing capacity to concrete.

Certified wood has the unique ability to help tackle climate change by keeping carbon locked away in the wood structure rather than in the atmosphere. Amazingly, Library at the Dock stores 250 tonnes of carbon in its wood structure.

Its construction position - just eight metres from the edge of the waterfront - was possible because CLT is 30 per cent lighter than traditional structures, significantly reducing the requirement for new substructure. The history of the 75-year-old wharf has been preserved and serves as the building's substructure.

The building's passive design promotes natural ventilation, daylight and fresh indoor air quality, resulting in reduced energy consumption and an improved indoor environment.

Other sustainability features include:

  • Passive ventilation
  • Full height glazing on ground level captures natural light and provides 360 degree views of the surrounds.
  • Low volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde materials ensure a high quality indoor environment.
  • Water collected from the roof and discharged to a 55,000L tank in the nearby Victoria Green park is reused within the building.
  • 85kw solar panels on the roof supply approximately 30 per cent of the building's total operational power.
  • The building has achieved a six-star green star rating under the public buildings rating tool from the Green Building Council of Australia.