Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre

The Birkenhead Library houses a large quantity of public services for its community.
Project Name
A library built with an artificial forest.
Case Study Type
Photographer Details
Images from NZWood


The Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre is a purpose-built new generation 2,600m2 library situated in Birkenhead, Auckland.

The building houses the Library, Council Cashiers, Information Services, Plunket and Citizens Advise Bureau. The architectural concept is based around a simple narrative of looking through ancient trees that existed on the site to the view – thus notions of solid and void, transparency, light quality, pattern, materiality and form were considered and modeled to inform various design demands. The intention was to have a pleasant and verdant quality of light available within the building that subtly changes during the day, leading to the building becoming transparent at night.



There are a number of innovative uses of materials that were selected to both strengthen and complement the design concept. Vertical timber fins undulate and screen the North West facade. These are aesthetically sculptural, providing a strong visual connection with the surrounding reserve while also practically acting as sun control. Timber fins are also used as balustrades on the mezzanine and exterior decks and create attractive detail when viewed from ground and street level.

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