Bairnsdale Library

Bairnsdale Library


In a region where the timber industry is a significant part of the regional heritage, the selection of  ‘heavy section’ or ‘mass’ timber construction by NOWarchitecture for the rejuvenation and development of the Bairnsdale library is  most appropriate. This structure is however a modern interpretation of traditional design and joinery.

The design features dovetail mortise and tenon joints for connection of long span LVL joists to supporting beams. This connection, made possible with the use of a modern CNC joinery machine, not only speeds construction but also provides a visually attractive intersection detail.  Elsewhere, the accuracy and precision of CNC prefabrication has been utilised to create rotationally rigid dowel joints between beams and columns for the development of  2-way frame action to resist lateral loads.   


The following extracted from NOWarchitecture submission for the Australian Timber Industry Awards (Finalist 2015)

From the preserved volume, material and detail of the 1889 Mechanics Hall, to sculptural timber stairways, to CAD/CAM prefabricated exposed elegant, joinery quality, LVL structure; sustainability is evident. An holistic design approach has reduced construction, operation and energy costs.

  • Holistic environmental design has reduced operation and energy costs and provides a warm aesthetic based on exposed plantation timber structures
  • Engineered plantation FSC timber structure has reduced construction and environmental costs with dovetail style connections between joists and beams eliminating secondary fixing
  • Timber structure reduces environmental impact and provides a human aesthetic throughout the building. Also reduced construction costs and celebrated and supported the local timber industry.
  • Two storey timber structure, constructed from prefabricated, CNC cut, HySpan LVL members provide a joinery quality structure which was left exposed as the major aesthetic element in the building and permitted elimination of expensive secondary finishes
  • Radiata pine LVL columns are oversized to char protect the core material and achieve a 120 minute fire rating.
  • CAD/CAM prefabrication features such as self-locating, rigid joints and reduced member weight greatly increased the speed of construction and reduced construction costs.


East Gippsland Shire Council Article

Project Details

LocationBairnsdale, Victoria


ArchitectNOW Architecture

BuilderBooker Builders Pty Ltd

Structural designSEMF Pty Ltd & Timberbuilt Australia Pty Ltd