North Fitzroy Library and Community Hub


  • GroupGSA
  • Yarra City Council
  • Buxton Construction


GroupGSA’s stunning 2040sqm North Fitzroy Library and Community Hub for the City of Yarra incorporates architectural and landscape design, a library, maternal/child health facility and a variety of community-focused facilities.

The building named ‘Bargoonga Nganjin’ meaning ‘Gather Everybody’ in Woiwurrung, is fitting for this highly anticipated library and community facility.

The council wanted to create a cross-generational meeting place for people of different cultures and ethnicities with a focus on user experience, future flexibility and environmentally sustainable design. GroupGSA’s elegant solution used innovative planning and community consultation to develop the difficult site on time, and on budget.

Key Features


The key success of this project is in the architectural language of the neighbourhood, and efforts to engage interaction through design. The rooftop garden engages visitors while serving an environmental agenda. The design targets environmental and social sustainability whilst working within the geometry of site.

The tapered site presents large east and west facades whilst leaving little room for controlled solar access via northern exposure. This overcomes that by introducing a northern facade that is sequentially stepped along the West Axis; allowing controlled northern light to flood the building whilst concurrently shielding it from the western and eastern sun.


Intergenerational – from day one, the level of interaction and activity between the generations has been thriving. All have been happy to be ‘side by side’ engaging in personal and community activity. Council departments who previously worked in silos are now working together in the new facility as part of a collaborative work program, that gives the residents access to Council programs and departments.

As the facility completes its first year in operation, the City of Yarra are thrilled to report the facility is working well and has a wonderful community hub feel.


The project was designed with a focus on user experience and future flexibility. This manifested by distillation of cellular supporting spaces and open flexible spaces.
The first floor is divided between maternal and child health facilities, including two playgroup rooms. The second floor is focused on community facilities with large divisible spaces, commercial kitchen and shared community office.
A rooftop garden connects the northern portion of the second and first floors via cascading planters and informal seating. This garden serves as an extension of both community and library spaces by providing a protected external garden space for interaction and study.


Several innovations emerged during the design process which makes this building stand apart from most community buildings. These include the design of a rooftop garden which serves as an extension of both community and library spaces by providing a protected space for interaction, study and play and enhances the overall sustainable design by the inclusion of an under decking water catchment system. The building is the first 6-star green star mixed-use public building rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.


The building achieves a 6-Star Green Star Design plus Best Practice Universal Access by including water management, shading systems, on-site power generation and a pressurised air handling system. Best Practice Universal Access includes changing places facilities, lifts as fire escapes, on-site generator back up, hearing loops and luminance materials.
The building comprises high recyclable building content, reused brickwork acting as a reflection of local culture.
Application of metal screens to the external facade were a design aesthetic, narrative, and an energy imperative.

The hole sizes were deliberately up-sized to mimic the dappled tree light and to avoid potential whistling issues

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