Students help design new Victorian State Library

New designs for the $88 million redevelopment of the State Library Victoria have been released by the Victorian Government.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley, and Minister for Major Projects Jacinta Allan revealed the designs, which have been developed in consultation with Victorian school children and community groups.

Designed by local firm Architectus together with Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the Vision 2020 redevelopment reimagines Australia’s oldest public library and one of Victoria’s most beloved heritage buildings.

The architects worked with primary and secondary school students, as well as families with infants and toddlers, to help create their dream library.

The result is a new Children’s Quarter featuring a treehouse-style reading and play area, with a ground-level running track for kids to burn off extra energy. The creation of this new space will help cater for the huge jump in children and families using the Library, which has increased by 200 per cent increase in the past 10 years.

Other new and reimagined spaces include:

  • The historic Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, closed for more than a decade, will reopen as a beautiful, light-filled reading room by day and events space by night, and reveal long-hidden heritage decorations
  • The Russell Street entrance will reopen and a new accessible entry will be built from La Trobe street. Both will lead to a new state-of-the-art exhibition space, the Victoria Gallery, endowed by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation
  • A new communal workspace, cafe and a greatly increased presence for Readings bookshop

The Vision 2020 project is a partnership between the Labor Government and the community.

The Victorian Government is investing $60.4 million in the project, with the balance being raised by the Library from philanthropic sources.

To date the Library has raised $21.8 million in philanthropic gifts, with the latest donation – $3 million from Maria and Allan Myers QC – announced to kick off a public fundraising campaign.

Construction is due to commence later in 2017 and the project is expected to be completed by 2020.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said, “This project has been created with generations of new library users in mind – from infants and toddlers to primary schoolers, teenagers and young entrepreneurs.

“Across the board it will provide access to the knowledge and learning opportunities they will need to participate in the economy of the future, while at the same time celebrating the extraordinary heritage of this site.”

Minister for Major Projects Jacinta Allan said, “This project will transform this iconic building, modernising the library while respecting and restoring its history.

“The new designs will increase public space by 40 per cent– creating new, exciting areas for families and kids and re-opening the Ian Potter Queens Hall after more than a decade.”

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