Photographer: Simon Devitt
Franklin: The Centre is the largest civic building to be built in Franklin in the last 45 years, and was the subject of a 2005 design competition won by ASC Architects.
The brief called for a large library and a community arts centre, sympathetic to the strongly massed and rectilinear Town Hall situated next door. The orthogonal forms of the new building reflect its neighbour's character, but in a lighter more open language. The height of the upper roof matches that of the Town Hall's, to make clear the civic importance of the new centre.
The two main building components, the library and arts centre, embrace a new civic space, Franklin Court, which is covered and enclosed, making it useful for community activities in all weathers. This space opens out toward the Town Hall, and is further enclosed by a smaller element accommodating the cafe and information centre.
All building components use natural light and ventilation to a large extent. The library's saw-tooth roof admits light from the south, and exhausts air through operable louvres. Temperature and humidity controls are provided mechanically when needed and in conjunction with the natural systems.
The arts centre is also naturally ventilated, except for the gallery, which is climate-controlled to enable museum-quality exhibitions to be held there.