Devonport has fire at its heart. The landscape, dominated by three extinct volcanoes – Takapuna, Takarunga and Takaroro – provided a home for iwi and for Pakeha residents. Their history is at the heart of Te Pātaka Kōrero o Te Hau Kapua/Devonport Library – a store house of knowledge for the community, a store house with a warm heart.
The long Maori history, dating from about 1350AD, and the ever present maunga are at the heart of Auckland’s identity and represent a celebration of our Māori identity. Devonport’s new library honours the korero of its multicultural community and its links to the land and sea.
Designed by Athfield Architects the Te Pātaka Kōrero o Te Hau Kapua Devonport Library the library reflects the rich multi-cultural background in spacious, wood-lined design. Athfields Architects (AA) is an iconic and innovative Wellington architectural firm, with a social conscience.
They believe “architecture has a social responsibility beyond the building, client & architect.”
Both AA and Escea, who have provided two fires at the heart of the library, have people as their focus. AA worked together with the Devonport community to create a library that reflected the history of the area, while also creating an atmosphere of exploration.
Libraries, where most children make their first flirtation with learning and with ideas, are the perfect place to feed innovation and creativity, to provide a place for it to bloom.
The creative atmosphere of the library is present at its core. Escea’s architectural advisor Richard Miller says “the moment you walk in the first thing you see is the fire”.
Escea’s DX1500 is placed at the heart of the library but also at its artistic and social hub. Above the ground floor’s DX1500 sit two rows of pottery tiles made by New Zealand potter and Devonport native, Barry Brickell.
If you look closely, the designs on the pottery are of ships, recalling Devonport’s maritime history. Hung above the fireplace is a glass chandelier, by New Zealand artist Te Rongo Kirkwood, named Te Aho Maumahara (Sacred Strand of Memories).
The Escea DX1500 is a unique fire which in its flexibility of design, and emphasis on efficiency, gives the architects working with the product the room to be more original with their design.
Devonport Library is a prime example, where the architect has taken advantage of the bespoke nature of the DX vent system.
AA’s chose to use a duct, which led to one large chamber and a single vent high on the wall above the DX fire. Should it have suited the design, the DX has the opportunity for up to eight vents, above, below, to the side of the fire, or anywhere in the library. Richard Miller says that the highly adaptive nature of the DX gives the architects the maximum capacity to express themselves, without being tied to the limitations of a product.
Looking beyond the obvious, you will find a second fire, a DX1000, installed upstairs in the library. It is second example of how the convenience of the DX’s design allows creativity to permeate a space.
The first thing to notice about the fire is the beautiful wallpaper surrounding it. The colours of the River Rock Fuel Bed echo that of the wallpaper, creating a harmony between paper and fire. This is a harmony that seems doomed to end in flame, but the zero combustion rating of the DX means that
you can use combustible building materials to frame your fireplace. Neither the wallpaper nor the painting hung directly above the fire will be effected by the fire below. The only heat coming through the glass is radiant heat, which goes straight forward, not up. The rest of the heat the architect has been chosen to pump out the vent above.
The seaside village has slowly gentrified into a suburb with rich cultural heritage. Te Pātaka Kōrero o Te Hau Kapua is at the heart of the community – a store house of knowledge with flame at its heart.