Redeveloped State Library Victoria reopens

5 December 2019
Credit: Schmidt Hammer Lassen
  • Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects/Architectus




Hammer Lassen Architects and Architectus restore heritage landmark

State Library Victoria, a historic Australian landmark, has officially reopened its doors to the public, revealing extensively transformed library spaces designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and Architectus. The newly designed spaces are part of a AU$88.1m five-year redevelopment plan aimed at expanding the library’s community outreach and enhancing the visitor experience.

The library comprises 23 individual buildings and occupies an entire city block in Melbourne’s city centre. Over the course of its 163 year history, numerous additions and developments resulted in a fragmented appearance, with a layout that made it easy for visitors to walk through the library without experiencing all it had to offer. The new design connects the various zones physically and visually. Elif Tinaztepe, partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen, stated: “Spaces have been revealed and made directly accessible, allowing visitors to move through the library more intuitively, exploring and uncovering all of its treasures.”

Another key consideration was unlocking the heritage aspects of the building which had been obscured by the various changes. The historic Ian Potter Queen’s Hall has now reopened to the public after 16 years, having been stripped back to reveal its original paint work. A marble staircase dating from 1910 that allows for direct access to the dome is in use for the first time since 2003, with its original worn marble retained and revealed beneath a new overlay.
Ruth Wilson, principal and Melbourne studio leader at Architectus, said: “The Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen design teams spent months in the library to familiarise ourselves with its intricacies, consulting with different groups of Victorians so that the final design reflected the desires of the community, and could pay homage to the historical significance of every part of the landmark site. We’re very proud of the finished product and how each of the spaces has come back to life, with heritage details once hidden for many years uncovered for the public to enjoy.”
Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This tender was first published by TenderStream on 01/10/2015 here

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