After nearly 25 years of planning, Te Awamutu finally received a brand-new library. The long-running institution, once catering to just 17 subscribers, had grown to a regular presence of at least 30,000 people; the historic building could no longer do its job. 


The Project

One of the many people that hold libraries in high regard is Mayor of Waipa, Jim Mylchreest, “Libraries play a crucial role in the community.  They are not only just a place to get books anymore, they are often the heart of the community and are the center of all sorts of information”.

Te Awamutu library called on Opus Architects to bring a building to life which would depict the proud heritage of the town and cater to the mass of people and print, in a modern open plan space. Delivering award-winning designs, Opus, unsurprisingly, succeeded in delivering on a functional and creative design.

The new library has a strong, simple and modern design that utilizes a limited palette of materials. Featuring solar power, the building design includes perforated metal exterior cladding and termed filigree, that symbolizes the interconnected multiple uses of the library. The ‘interconnected’ theme is continued through the interior design, with eight functional areas sharing modern, versatile, polished internal surfaces and exposed ducting. The openness of design and multiplicity of function, however, mandated a modern approach to acoustic management.

Penny Mills of Opus, the lead designer for the Te Awamutu library project, said that the call for a punchy design element with high performing acoustic treatment led her to Autex.


The Goal

The goal was to absorb noise from the reception area while creating a great piece of art upon entry to the library. In order to achieve this goal, the team at Autex delivered a bespoke acoustic system. Autex’s Frontier™, an innovative modular acoustic ceiling system designed for modern aesthetic and targeted sound absorption, was used as a focal point in the library.

Frontier™ 24mm custom circles were used above the children’s zone as well as a custom Frontier™ 12mm system above the entrance to the reception which was suspended from box section frame with seismic suspension cables and water-cut dovetail “soffit” sections to accommodate flush mounted LED lighting.

Autex was able to engineer and design a complete acoustic system. The lighting of the design, like every use of space, was crucial, so Autex worked with Opus to incorporate the lighting into the Frontier™ system. Making the area of space acoustically functional and aesthetic but also practical. In the areas where Autex products were used, noise and reverberation were significantly reduced.


The Result

Jonathan Mountfort, Autex Creative Director says the idea was to proactively incorporate the rich history of Te Awamutu into the spatial design scheme by depicting the local myth of three children. The Frontier™ system was designed as three overlaying, circular, interwoven rafts suspended above the children’s zone and reception area. This also helped differentiate areas in the open plan space.

The project received a warm welcome from the community and has garnered national attention for the outstanding design. Te Awamutu Library has become a concrete staple in the community.


Project Details

3 x Custom Frontier™ 24mm circles above children’s zone.

1 x Custom 12mm system above reception entrance.

Colours: Falling Water, Savoye, Empire, Flatiron, Ironbank.




Opus Architecture is a leading team of building design professionals - architects, interior designers and project managers. 

We provide building design services to the public, commercial, health, leisure and education sectors. We’ve earned a reputation for innovative design solutions with a strong focus on sustainability and our work has been recognised with many top design awards. 

We often work with in-house structural, civil and building services engineers to provide a total, managed, multi-disciplinary design service.