On March 30, 2017, the State Library Victoria in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia unveiled designs of its coming $88.1 million redevelopment plan that will transform the library to meet current and future needs, while creating 40% more space for public use.
Together with local partner Architectus, the lead design firm, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL), has created the new contemporary design line that aims to unlock possibilities, create connections and be a framework for the Library’s ongoing and future evolution.
The architectural design concept will put the users at its center providing an open, accessible and welcoming experience for all ages and cultural backgrounds.
As the oldest and busiest public library in Australia, attracting 1.8 million visitors and 3.3 million online users each year, the State Library Victoria is a rich and celebrated cultural institution in Melbourne, a space that reaches out to a broad range of users.
During the design process a series of co-creation workshops where held to engage the users directly in the Library’s redevelopment. Input and feedback from children, teens and their families have helped the design team to understand the future user needs. That valuable feedback will translate into the creation of their dream library.
The design concept hopes to unlock the physical aspects of the Library that will expand the possibilities of its function. While spaces like the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall and Galleries are literally “unlocked” and released to the public, the Trescowthick Information Centre (TIC) and the Courtyards are redesigned to bring their architectural and functional potential to life. The architects are peeling back the layers and revealing the original architecture which we are being very respectful of in our upgrading so it can function as a modern library.
New engaging spaces for children, families and youth will be created to nurture creative learning, literacy and play as well as new technology-enabled spaces for entrepreneurship and innovation are created to support and stimulate the creative economy.
The designers are increasing the use of the building through reassessment and flexible building strategies. The various improvements the library has gone through until present day are characterized by styles and approaches that belong to a specific time, giving the library a fragmented appearance.
Artist’s renderings courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.