Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen



Public Library of the Year 2014

Craigieburn Library

The winner of schmidt hammer lassen architects – Public Library of the Year Award 2014 is Craigieburn Library, Hume City, Victoria, Australia
Architect: Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp

The award is based on the following:

A library for the city and its inhabitants
Through a collaboration between the architectural firm, Hume City Council and the community, the library shows how a contemporary library as a public building can help set high design standards for a new civic and community.

Surroundings and architecture
Craigieburn Library stands out as a significant modern construction with a strong, recognizable architectural concept that is characterized by a simple design using few but powerful materials. The building's main form, with its long horizontal lines, has a clear reference to the Australian landscape, so that the building is beautifully balanced with its surroundings. The landscape is also the inspiration for the choice of materials, and the use of locally-sourced rammed earth gives the facade a light and warm setting, staging the building as if it has shot up through the soil.
It is also of great architectural value that the building is oriented in such a way as to take account of the Australian weather with its burning sun. This can be seen in the way the building opens up towards the north with large glass windows that make the building seem welcoming and inspiring to the surrounding community. At the same time, the large roof louvers create a natural transition from the outside to the inside and provide a powerful and aesthetically shade far into the building.
The use of the same few materials in the exterior as well as the interior creates a natural harmony and, thanks to the large glass panels, the barrier between outside and inside almost seems to dissolve. The proportions of the simple grid system combined with the customized spaces in different scales ensure that the architecture relates to the human scale.

A building for flexible use
The building functions with high quality in an inviting, informal and human scale. With its open and flexible spaces, the library is transformed into a democratic space, inviting diversity and interaction. The library is an important new facility for the rapidly expanding community within the City of Hume. In addition to library services, the building also interacts with different partners, including an art gallery, a café, childcare facilities, computer training centres, and meeting and functional spaces. It is integrated so that the library can reach out to a wide array of users.

A good beginning for the future of Hume
All the qualities listed above have attracted a great number of visitors from the beginning. Craigieburn Library is a good example of how to use a library to create a sense of belonging for all demographic groups as both a learning centre and a gathering place in the City of Hume. The conclusion is that the new library building is a brilliant and dynamic platform on which to expand the cooperative development of living culture and knowledge and the good life in Hume.

Visit the library's website

View photos from the library here (Photos by Trevor Mein)

Press coverage

schmidt/hammer/lassen architects (Danish)


The Guardian

Architecture & Design 

Enssib (French)

ActuaLitté (French)


World Architecture News


Licitationen - Byggeriets Dagblad 1 (Danish)

Licitationen - Byggeriets Dagblad 2 (Danish)

ALIA weekly

Perspektiv (Danish)

The Well-Appointed Catwalk

Craigieburn Library. Photo by Trevor Mein

Craigieburn Library. Photo by Trevor Mein

Craigieburn Library

Craigieburn Library

Craigieburn Library

Craigieburn Library


The assessment committee agreed to nominate four libraries, from respectively England, Australia, Netherlands and Denmark. The winner of the award was revealed the17th of August 2014, at the annual IFLA (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) congress in Lyon. 

The nomination of the four libraries were based on the following reasons

The Library of Birmingham, England
The nomination is based on the way that the Library of Birmingham interacts with the cityscape and for its strong community engagement. The architecture has strong references to the local heritage which is successfully integrated in the design. At the same time it illustrates how a Library has become a cultural destination as such and at the same time serves as a place for cross cultural social gathering and learning center for the local community.

Architects: Mecanoo

Visit the library's website 

View photos from the library here

Craigieburn Library, Australia
The nomination of the Craigeburn Library is based on its very high design quality and for its beautiful use of local materials. Craigieburn shows how a library as a public building can contribute to set high design standards for a new community and at the same time it performs high functional quality in an inviting, informal and human scale. With its open and flexible spaces the library transforms into a democratic space inviting diversity and interaction.

Architect: Francis-Jones Morehen Torp

Visit the library's website 

View photos from the library here (Photos by Trevor Mein)

Bookmountain Library Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
The nomination of Spijkenisse Library is based on the use of books as symbol for the worth of learning. Through its glass façade the Library invites the City inside. With its architectural bold statement on the strong emphasis on the book the Library has created dialogue in the Library sector about the future for libraries.

Architect: MVRDV

Visit the library's website 

View photos from the library here

Ørestad Library, Denmark
The nomination of Ørestad Library is based on the innovative use of digital resources by showing new ways of integrating digital features in the library in close cooperation with the local community. Furthermore the very flexible rooms is an example of an efficient use of space, and the sharing of a Public and a School Library stresses the good use of resources.

Architect: KHR

Visit the library's website 

View photos from the library here

The award

The award named ‘schmidt hammer lassen architects – Public Library of the Year Award 2014’ is established by the Model Programme for Public Libraries with the architectural firm schmidt hammer lassen architects as sponsors. The Model Programme aims to motivate municipalities into developing the library of the future.

The Programme offers an interactive, web-based inspiration catalogue and tools that are to communicate new knowledge, best practise and inspiration for brand new space/function interplay for library developers. The library of the future must take digital development, the user’s needs and the surrounding local culture into account, as well as meet the users with a functional and welcoming architecture.

The award is DKK 25,000, which is given to the winning municipality.

Assessment criteria

The nominations were decided from the following criteria:

The library must be new-built. This means that it must have been completed during the period 1 January 2012 through 15 June 2014.
The definition of a new library in this connection is a library that has been newly built from scratch, or a library that has been set up in premises that have not previously existed as a library.

Furthermore, the nominations were decided on the basis of an overall assessment of the following six criteria:

1. The good process
For instance, has the project involved citizen and/or user inclusion that has added value to the final project or to the way in which the citizens has adopted the library in the community? How has the collaboration been between the different stakeholders?
2. Interaction with the surroundings
Including access conditions, accessibility (wheelchair-friendliness), visibility in the urban landscape and interaction with surrounding buildings and open spaces. Is the library a driver of connections or movements?
3. Flexibility
Including how rooms and spaces are designed and laid out, and how surfaces and the combination of spaces are an inspiration for the users’ own activities and support new activities and synergy across various spaces. Does the library for instance include makerspace facilities for workshops or a stage? Are these used, and if so, how? Can the spaces change character and be used for other functions and activities?
4. Building quality
How do the spaces affect your senses? Does each space work well logistically? How are the spaces designed in consideration of light, darkness, sound, silence, materials, functionality, moods and indoor climate? Architectural quality: How, and to what extent, has a particular architectural concept been implemented and designed on several scales in the building?
5. Digital communication
Has digital communication been integrated into the physical library in any particular and/or efficient ways? Is the building used actively as a means of communication – in abstract or concrete terms?
6. Local culture
How does the architecture reflect, or give consideration to, the local culture of the community, and how does the building contribute to society as a social gathering place and a knowledge sharing platform?

Assessment committee

  • Anne Mette Rahbæk, Director General, Danish Agency for Culture
  • Morten Schmidt, senior partner, schmidt hammer lassen architects
  • Kent Martinussen, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre
  • Jan Richards, Manager, Central West Libraries,  New South Wales, Australia. IFLA Public Libraries Section
  • Jens Lauridsen, Library Director, Tårnby Public Libraries
  • Marie Østergaard, Project manager, Aarhus Public Libraries
08. Jun 2016 at. 11:07

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