Robinvale Community Hub

The Robinvale Community Hub was the result of a partnership between the Department of Education and Training, the Swan Hill Rural City Council, and Robinvale College to provide students and the community of Robinvale with a static library facility and multi-service community hub on the college grounds. This project involved the adaptive reuse of the existing college gym, addition of separate amenities for students and the public, and refurbishment of the existing canteen kitchen, all on a very modest budget.

A surgical demolition of the existing building enabled much of the steel structure, blockwork walls and roof, and parts of the external insulated cladding to be retained. Bricks from the demolition works were also recycled into outdoor pavers, further reducing the building’s carbon footprint. New external metal cladding and brickwork form a graphic, sawtooth gable pattern on the street frontage, projecting a welcoming image to the public whilst reducing visual bulk. New lightweight steel pergolas further extend the gabled forms into the surrounding landscape and define external breakout and café spaces. New double glazed openings transform a formerly dark, insular space into an airy, light-filled one.

The main public entrance is signalled by a new textured brick volume that continues past the entrance to the interior. In the expansive open plan library space, a folded acoustic ceiling expresses the gable motif internally, whilst three sculptural plywood joinery elements – a book display unit, a librarian’s desk, and a tiered seating/hot-desking unit – are strategically placed to help delineate zones within the library. Branching off this central library area are a variety of spaces, from flexible collaborative spaces to enclosed discussion rooms to private pods for quiet study and reflection, that maintain the functions of a state-of-the-art library whilst equipping the Community Hub to meet the diverse needs of both school and community into the future.