Library plan gives best view to loos

By Wayne Thompson


A proposal for a new Devonport Library boasts a fireplace "snug" for readers and a 24-hour space for youthful Wi-Fi users - but its toilets will block the view of the Waitemata Harbour from the main street.


Last week, Auckland Council chose award-winning Athfield Architects to design the $7.8 million North Shore project to be built on the Windsor Reserve site of the existing library, which will be demolished.


Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member Mike Cohen said concept plans so far had not respected local concern to get views from Victoria Rd through the reserve to the sea.


"If you were building a $3 million house with a view of Rangitoto Island, you wouldn't put a toilet in the middle of the view like we've done here," he said. If views had to be blocked, another site should be found.


A group of six architects, who live in Devonport, also said Windsor Reserve was the wrong location.


One of them, Tony Koia, said the board was after an iconic building.


"But our view is the original Windsor Reserve is iconic and no building or place will be better than the Windsor Reserve returned to its whole.


At the moment it's cut in two and the library disconnects the township from the reserve."


However, the board voted to endorse the appointment of the design and planning team and call for public consultation in the next few weeks. It said feedback would help get the design to the stage where it would be tested by the urban design panel and the council's major projects team.


Board chairman Chris Darby said the concept was "an elegant pavilion in the park".


Athfield architect Jonathan Rennie said the plan would draw people to the library's first floor where the view was better than from the main street. "We accept the toilets may not be in the best place and are working through their location."

- The Aucklander

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