Northam Library - an architecture and photography road trip beyond the Perth city limits

So what does an architecture nerd and photographer do on their day off? Yeah you guessed it - take pictures of buildings!

On this day though I only had one thing on my mind, and that was to take a short road trip out of Perth an head to Northam to revisit Iwan Iwanoff’s Public Library (1971) and the adjacent Council office (1974).  I first visited these buildings in my first year of studying architecture and it was quite an eye opener at that early point in my education to see such an original and unconventional way of exploring aesthetics, of exploring making, all the while with a clear sense of purpose and response to function. It struck me with a sense of being simultaneously classical and unapologetically avant-garde. I was an instant fan!

The interior shows all the signs of a well used and abused local government asset. It also appears to double as the place where all the world’s balls of blu-tack, posters and hand crafted informational signage go away to die.

I had only been back to Northam once since that first visit and that that was on a mid-winter mountain bike ride from Mundaring to Northam and back. It was wet, windy and freezing cold so the only thing on my mind was eating as much food as I could find. Thank god for Bakers Hill Pie Shop! Sadly architectural appreciation was pretty low on my list given the conditions that day.

It was a great to get back out there this time around though, sun shining, and camera in hand.

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