State Library of Victoria

State Library of Victoria

The 2020 Vision for the State Library of Victoria will see 40% more space released to the public with the opening of the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, The Victoria Gallery, the Russell Street entry, the Banquet Hall, as well as welcoming new rooms like the Children’s Quarter and the Ideas Quarter.

Victoria’s State Library takes up a full city block and is actually 23 buildings that have evolved over the last 160 years. The design strategy focuses on revealing rather than replicating the heritage elements of the Library, at the same time a consistent language for the new elements is a created that will thread the spaces together to achieve a cohesive and satisfying visitor experience. Spaces are stripped back to reveal their original beauty, literally peeling off layers of paint to expose the original 1860’s paint scheme in Queens Hall, repairing the original timber floors and removing the clutter that has accumulated over the years. New elements are designed to stand the test of time with an enduring aesthetic, using timber and refined yet robust detailing.

Consultation was an enormous part of the design process. Over 200 sessions were held over the design period, beginning with hands-on workshops with staff to uncover their experiences and aspirations which were inspirational to the design team. Primary and secondary school children and young adults were engaged in a process of co-design which has shaped the design, with elements such as the Children’s Quarter “castle” evolving from children’s wishes to climb, hide and discover spaces described in their drawings of treehouses, castles and spaceships.

This is the second collaboration between Architectus and the Danish-based practice, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, having also designed the Christchurch New Central Library which is due for completion in 2018.

Architectus Director Ruth Wilson talks about the library spaces and the flexibility of the design here:

Vision 20/20 

Project Sheet

Project Summary

State Library Victoria
Melbourne, VIC
Original value
Ruth Wilson