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Kouga-Express
Kareedouw receives its first public library

KAREEDOUW’S first state-of-the-art public library opened its doors to the public at the end of October – boasting a library and conference component.

The newly constructed Mcebisi Michael Msizi Public Library is funded by the Eastern Cape’s Department of Sport, Recreation Arts and Culture, and Public Works as implementing agent.

“The Mcebisi Michael Msizi Public Library is an example of what can be achieved when using quality products and an innovative design,” said Musa Shangase, Commercial Director at Corobrik.

“This community will benefit from the town’s first dedicated, modern library building which has been constructed to maximise on the natural temperature regulators, while working into the surrounding aesthetic.

“The inclusion of Corobrik’s durable face brick range means that generations to come will get to enjoy full use of this facility.”

The library – which is a recipient of the SAIA-EC Regional Commendation – forms part of the municipal precinct of buildings situated along Keet Street, with dramatic views of the Langkloof Mountains. The building consists of two parts: the public library with accompanying administrative and service areas, and a small public conference component with ablutions.

The library boasts children’s reading areas, study areas, breakaway rooms, reading spaces in an open-air courtyard, a dedicated area for online research and computers, and a conference room.

Debbie Wintermeyer, architect at The Workplace Agency, explained that the design of the Mcebisi Michael Msizi Public Library ensured the approximately 650m² building remained modest in scale and expression, while still maintaining integrity and status as an important municipal building.

“We wanted to create a community precinct for Mcebisi Michael Msizi with facilities located off an open foyer area, that would be simple to use, multifunctional, and crafted in response to the beautiful natural surroundings.

“We also incorporated a small courtyard and a foyer in the plans as a way of increasing usable spaces.”

She said that Corobrik’s Firelight Satin face bricks were used with flush joints tinted red, alongside Corobrik’s bullnose bricks. “We wanted to express the main library area as a brick building inside and out, with the smaller meeting room and bathrooms plastered. The Firelight Satin face brick was chosen for its consistent colour and shape and used with the red-tinted flush joints, giving a slick, sheer appearance on completion.”

The library’s interior main space was constructed in a variety of scales, ranging from the large face brick buttressed back wall and clerestory windows, to the low, intimate study nooks and children’s section in the north. The material palette was kept to a minimum, with expressed steel frame and the face bricks the primaries in the rugged framework.

“The Firelight Satin face brick was used inside and outside, the library, with minimal brick detailing in the form of roller-course lintels, bullnose brick coping at the top of walls and squint bricks at the window reveals. We are particularly proud of the face brick buttress wall with its clerestory lighting over the top and the buttresses with bookshelves in between,” said Wintermeyer.

Adding a truly unique touch to the building’s design, The Trinity Session (a contemporary art production team) ran a public art programme whereby local learners were given the opportunity to express themselves artistically – the evidence of which can be seen on the building’s main entrance.

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