ECU Library Joondalup Campus

Far from the austere and silent libraries of the past, the library at ECU is a new generation library that responds to the diversity that defines university and student life. The building is as much a place as it is a combination of facilities. Books on shelves still exist, but they are just one of the resources within a building defined more as a marketplace for learning, communication and interaction.

The vision for the new generation library is one which more than ever encompasses access, our modern lifestyles and the diversity which defines our global society. The history of libraries has often been an evocative one and steeped in the culture of the times. The fundamentals of knowledge, who should have access to it and coveted it has, in today’s world, been blown open more than at any other time. Infinite access is seemingly possible through the web but it is the quality of information which now defines knowledge and how it is acquired has begun to define its repositories.

Part of the new life of libraries also relates to their presence as a destination and a journey. The notion of the ‘Third Place’ has been explored for a while now – not home and not the workplace. Groups such as ‘Starbucks’ are trying to monopolise on this terminology by asserting that they are the ‘Third Place’ but in essence libraries most closely define the term.

Built on a sloping site (4m gradient) on the west side of the campus, the building creates a new entry to the campus and brings together 4 major axes which cross in the centre of its foyer, located on level 2. The foyer level is the middle level of the library (3 levels). The 4th level of the building is occupied by the directorate, IT services and an area for library expansion currently occupied by offices.

The building is very carefully designed to exclude all direct sunlight whilst maximizing the amount of natural light. The coloured aluminium fins play a 100% practical role while also creating a sensual and ephemeral skin. Colours are derived from pixelation of the green/blue of the bush of the area. The three fin colours mix to create a myriad of combinations and at the end of a summer’s day the colours change to orange like the beautiful orange which ends all Australian days. Other interior and exterior colours are derived from the colours of the native flowers of the region with the purple representing the Geraldton wax.

The building houses a bookshop, internet café, coffee shop, and integrated Japanese-inspired courtyard. Also inside is a mega lab – an interactive technology-based research and learning lounge, with a variety of workspaces like beanbags, ottomans, lounge suites, booths and rooms. It is fresh, full of natural light and a living building.

The design’s fundamental premise is that everyone studies differently, and if the most comfortable way to study is at home with a laptop, a coffee, a friend and a snack, why shouldn’t that be possible here?

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University, Library

Project Number

Edith Cowan University

Completed 2007

270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup WA 6027

$25 million (2007 prices)

Key Personnel
Elisabetta Guj, Paul Jones, Paul Steed, Paul Aris, Melinda Payne, Phay Hein Wei, Brent Aitkenhead, Alistair Ravenscroft, Rob Corker, Moojan Kalbasi

Services Provided
Masterplanning, Schematic Design, Design Development, Contract Documentation, Contract Administration, Interior design

Brian Yearwood, Director Facilities and Services Directorate Tel: (08) 6304 2516 Email:

2007 RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects); Department of Housing and Works Architecture Award, Public Architecture; 2007 RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) International Award for Architecture

Gross Floor Area

Number of Levels
4 levels

Facilities Provided
Library, including book stacks, study areas & rooms, reference area, 24-hour E-lab; Seminar Rooms; Post-graduate study rooms; Offices & Directorate for Knowledge & Information Services Department; Campus Data Centre; Cafe; Bookshop; Outdoor courtyard areas

Construction / Materials
In-situ concrete framing, precast concrete cores, steel roof & roof framing, steel framed access walkways, aluminium framed shopfront windows, powdercoated aluminium sunshade louvres

Google Map Link
View on Google Maps

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Map Address
270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup WA 6027

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