Tiwu Kumangka

Tiwu Kumangka at dusk. The warm sandstone blockwork and dark timber-look upper level glows with architectural lighting. The building name is black above the entry canopy. A gum tree reaches accross the front entryway. Strong vertical fins wrap the upper level.

Tiwu Kumangka is located in Blackwood, a south-eastern suburb nestled within the foothills of Adelaide. Linking building form, landscape and reserve, the two-storey library and multipurpose community hub brings people together to connect, explore, learn and create.

Designed in collaboration with the council’s Strategic, Community, Library, and Open Space teams, the building consolidates existing library and community facilities into a single, expanded facility adjacent to Waite Street Reserve. Tiwu Kumangka is a vital component of a broader precinct master plan to link shared public zones across the centre of Blackwood.

Tiwu Kumangka celebrates its surrounding landscapes, taking inspiration from the tree canopy and its ridgetop location above the Adelaide Plains, and references the creek bed themes from its sister library in Lower Mitcham. Exterior treatments on the upper level are reminiscent of the dark bark of Australian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), which grows in the nearby Mount Lofty Ranges. Robust materiality reflects the area’s mining past.

Kaurna Country
Blackwood, South Australia
City of Mitcham
Project Contact
Michael Willis
David Sievers
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share via email

Tiwu Kumangka encourages exploration and discovery

The atrium-style foyer draws visitors through its doors and creates a strong sense of arrival. An internal ‘street’ visually and physically connects the reserve to the roadway. Link bridges and skylights encourage visitors to look up and around.

Internal spaces extend into the landscaping. The canopy provides shaded outdoor areas, and a sunny roof terrace overlooks the adjoining reserve. The community spaces on the upper level and the library on the ground floor spill light onto the street, bringing the urban environment to life as community events continue into the night.

A hub for connection in the community

The ground floor of Tiwu Kumangka is a hub of community activity, housing staff and operational functions alongside a public library. This library is not just a space for books but is a welcoming environment for all ages. It includes a primary collection overlooking the reserve, a toy and children’s library, a young adult area, and a variety of booths and lounges. The library is flooded with natural light, providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere that encourages visitors to linger. Self-service tea points throughout offer places for community groups to come together and connect.

Previous slide
Next slide
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DesignInc-Tiwu-Kumangka-Community-Library-12-1479x2216.jpg

Internal connections are highlighted through the building’s permeability, volume and scale

The upper level boasts communal areas, including a multipurpose function space that extends to a foyer and roof terrace, a maker space, a digital hub, and a community kitchen. Smaller rooms branch out from the larger community spaces, providing a quiet respite for individuals or groups to meet. Individual rooms are visually connected via the circulation hallways, central atrium and group community spaces, creating a cohesive and open feel throughout the building.

Tiwu Kumangka is an exciting and innovative combined community centre and library that is the centrepiece of the revitalisation of Blackwood. Tiwu Kumangka provides a space for the community to learn, participate, and celebrate. The community have embraced the new facility since its opening with increased attendance and memberships.

Kate O’Neill
General Manager, Organisational+Community Development
City of Mitcham

Benchmarking Water-Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

The project’s sustainability principles were engrained within the design to enable the building to operate as a flexible and energy-efficient communal facility, with careful consideration given to its connection to natural light and open space. Flexible zones allow the building to adapt to suit user demand and ensure the most efficient energy use. Tiwu Kumangka benchmarks the City of Mitcham’s Water-Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) principles, including passive stormwater treatment, rainwater harvesting and reuse and permeable paving—with additional provision for a future solar array.

The City of Mitcham consulted with Kaurna Elders and the community to choose the building’s Kaurna name, ‘Tiwu’ (Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo) ‘Kumangka’ (coming together) in response to increased sightings of the vulnerable species in the area. 

Braden Hill

Architect, Adelaide