Library at the Dock

Setting new environmental benchmarks, the Library at The Dock is Australia’s most sustainable community building, constructed primarily from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and recycled hardwood. The unique contrast of reclaimed old timber with the latest innovation of CLT construction celebrates history while embracing 21st century technology. Library at The Dock is Australia’s first public building made from CLT. The three-storey library is situated on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour in Melbourne’s Docklands. As well as a traditional library collection, the library offers an interactive learning environment, an impressive digital collection, and multi-purpose community spaces and a performance venue that holds 120 people.

The library was built by Lendlease using 1,000 cubic metres of European Spruce CLT. The façade consists of recycled Ironbark and Tallowwood timber to complement 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.

Construction right on the waterfront, just eight metres from the edge, was only possible because CLT is 20 per cent of the weight of traditional structures, significantly reducing the requirement for new substructure. The 75-year-old wharf has been preserved and serves as the building’s substructure.

The use of CLT for the library’s structure significantly reduced the building’s carbon footprint. In addition, the building’s passive design promotes natural ventilation, daylight and fresh indoor air quality, resulting in reduced energy consumption and an improved indoor environment.

The building has achieved a six-star green star rating under the public buildings rating tool from the Green Building Council of Australia.

Design: Lendlease with Clare Design and Hayball

Photography: Diane Snape and Emma Cross