"The Bairnsdale Library had undergone poor 1970’s alterations resulting in a steady decline in usage. Obtaining community support was paramount as previous architectural concepts were met with a hostile and frustrated community.

The way NOWarchitecture managed the design process, interaction with Council staff and informing the community, often under severe time constraints, is to be commended, particularly as it resulted in restoring community trust in the Council and confidence in the design.

It was very apparent that the intense consultation with staff made a significant difference to the workflow and spatial relationships but not always clear how community consultations informed the conceptual design.

The Jury appreciated the architect’s incorporation of many environmental elements and their ability to restore to civic prominence the existing heritage building and integrating it into the new library design. This was assisted by the orientation of the new addition in such a way as to showcase the restored 1889 building, thus creating a fabulous public courtyard and other outdoor learning areas.

Overall, a very well thought through library project which has re-engaged all age groups back into the library and creating a community facility of which Bairnsdale can be proud. 

Congratulations to NOWarchitecture and Bairnsdale Library”

Jury comments
2015 CEFPI Victorian Educational Facilities Awards
(Renovation /Modernisation over $2 million)

"It has been a joy to observe students peer teaching, teachers team teaching, students in break out areas and community members enjoying the spaces and technology. We work towards individual learning plans and differentiating the curriculum [and] the architecture of our facility enables these practices. Instruction has moved into a different realm."

John Sciacca
Principal, Nathalia Secondary College

"I love working in here, it is much better than the old, arranged building. It stays cool, even in 40° plus heat!"

Student, Nathalia Secondary College

"The house looks terrific, so take a bow. It's not been an easy ride for you, from trying to communicate with us while we were away last year, to the little catastrophes along the way during the renovation. The clever design for fitting in the lift in...is fabulous and we will be very grateful for it. The kitchen spaces are wonderful and the mobile bench is a miracle of loveliness and function. I can't wait to move in and get organised so we can enjoy using it. You really did understand our lifestyle well."

Owner, Brunswick Residence

"[We are] definitely happy with the house, it's fantastic. The number of people who comment is amazing. People even photograph it! Jenny is very proud. It is very, very comfortable especially in the winter and our energy bills are coming down. We never feel cold in winter any more. Our energy savings are improving all the time as we make little improvements, such as mesh blinds."

Owner, Rosanna Residence

"Thank you for our beautiful home. Every day I wake up and I love it; every day I am in it and I appreciate it; every night I go to sleep and I am grateful for it. What abides, for me, is the sense that when you came and looked and listened, you have understood both the history of the house and who we were, living in it."

Owner, Glen Iris Residence

"It has been a pleasure, and for me an honour to work with someone of your architectural standing. It was just a small renovation, but the outcome has been amazing. Your delight in the world of the child and understanding of the link between pedagogy and space was evident throughout our work together. I do hope we will meet again."

Carol Morrison
Principal, St Columbas Primary School, Elwood

"We have been consistently impressed by the Team at NOWarchitecture. They have been very conscious of the importance of our project to both Council and the community...They have accommodated both the need to engage with and understand the desires of the community as well as managing the complexity that can sometimes be attached to a major Council Project."

Kate Nelson
Director Planning and Community, East Gippsland Shire Council

"Adrian and I have looked back over our 3 and a bit year association with you on this project, and concurred that time really does fly when you're having fun! The laughs certainly did outweigh the angst, which has left us in no doubt that we would do the same again if the opportunity arises.

The house is constantly revealing it's ingenuity to us. I often find myself reflecting on the first time the design was presented to us when I have just 'lived' the reality of a space as you described it - like standing at the kitchen sink and conversing with Adrian in the Study whilst Jordan completes his homework at the kitchen bench!"

Owner, Wyndham Residence

"Meadows Primary School is "one of the most delightful schools I have visited..... Meadows is wonderful on so many levels which photographs don't quite manage to capture. The highlights for me are the kitchen garden at the entry involving and supporting this diverse community, the beautiful light communal space at the heart, the clever sustainable strategies apparent for students to see and feel, the kitchens and gym and even the custom designed furniture. You must be proud of the contribution you are making to children's (and teachers') lives."

Clare Newton
Associate Professor in Learning Environments.
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
The University of Melbourne

"This school in a small country town has been reinvented in a way that has challenged the community but ultimately has exceeded the expectations of the students, staff and the community alike. An innovative approach to heritage, and the challenges this has posed has contributed to community changes in attitude and approach. There is a good integration of passive and active ESD initiatives, that inform the design and the users. The high level of community consultation before and during the design process have led to clear pride and ownership by the school. While most significantly a new build, the connection and response to the existing site, buildings and context is well done and builds on existing relationships."

Yackandandah Primary School: Jury Comments CEFPI 2011

"I was up at Yackandandah on the weekend. You have done a fantastic job with the School and the locals love it. Great Work"

John Sprunt

"We have been in our new school now for nearly 5 weeks and it’s fantastic! I’ve been thrilled about the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program as well and we actually start planting next week! What a superb building it is and I’ve been blown away with the environmental features, especially the wind turbines."

Mary Cox
Environmental Co-ordinator, Meadows Primary School and ELC

"Both Neville and Judith were eager to work with staff, willing to listen to all suggestions and keen to provide practical advice and guidance...their attention to detail has been exemplary [and] their dealings with the builder have been most professional."

Ron Edwards
President, Werribee Secondary College Council

"Yes [they] deliver on time and on budget, but what really differentiates NOWarchitecture is their quality of Service and Design."

Elvis Jeannot
Facilities Manager, Northern Metropolitan Region, DEECD