Receiving both awards for Best Public Building and Best Heritage Development, State Library Victoria Vision 2020, is a collaboration between Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen, delivered by Built. This visionary project was conceived to extend the reach and relevance of Australia’s oldest and busiest public library to ensure that it would continue to meet the changing needs of visitors. The redevelopment focused on deepening and enhancing visitor engagement with the Library’s spaces and collections.
The rich and vibrant history of the Library was returned to the public through heritage restorations that sought to reveal rather than replicate the building’s original form. Contemporary fittings and materials were incorporated as new characters in the building’s 165-year old narrative. The new ‘design line’ included stairs, lifts, furniture, joinery, fixtures and fittings. Clever technologies also thickened the plot, like the beloved two-storey Children’s Castle which was devised to hide plant equipment.
Ruth Wilson said, “Libraries are some of the most culturally significant institutions to society. Just as the design sought to answer questions not yet asked so too does State Library Victoria. Spaces that flow, emote and encourage are restored and enhanced once again to enhance learning, preservation and universal public access as symbols of progress and hope.”
The redevelopment has now received a total of 11 national and international awards including the Victorian Premier’s Design Award for Architectural Design and the Australian Library Design Award’s National Exemplar Award in 2021. Learn more about State Library Victoria here.