State Library Victoria has revealed the new designs for its $88.1 million redevelopment, Vision 2020 reimagining Australia’s oldest public library and one of Victoria’s most beloved heritage buildings, transforming this iconic Melbourne institution, opening up 40% more space to the public.
State Library CEO, Kate Torney said the designs are a stunning culmination of input from across the community. “For the past 18 months we’ve been asking Victorians what they want from their State Library – we’ve talked to people who regularly use the library, as well as with those who don’t use it now, but hopefully will enjoy all it has to offer in the future,” said Ms Torney.
“The designs strike a beautiful balance between restoring and celebrating the heritage of this wonderful institution and responding to the changing and varied needs of our visitors.”
The new designs, created by internationally acclaimed firms Architectus and Denmark’s Schmidt Hammer Lassen, will see a new Children’s Quarter featuring a treehouse-style reading and play area; the historic Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, closed for more than a decade, reopen as a beautiful, light-filled reading room by day and events space by night, revealing 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, and a new communal workspace, cafe and a greatly increased presence for Readings bookshop.
Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, outlined how Vision 2020 anticipates the needs of a new generation creative thinkers. “The State Library Vision 2020 project has been created with generations of new library users in mind – from infants and toddlers to primary schoolers, teenagers and young entrepreneurs,” said Minister Foley.
“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.”
The Vision 2020 project is a partnership between the Labor Government and the community. The Government is investing $60.4 million in the project, with the balance being raised by the Library from philanthropic sources. The government and philanthropic funding model is unique, with the State Government committing $2 for every $1 raised.
A public fundraising campaign has been launched, marked by a $3 million donation by philanthropists Maria and Allan Myers, QC. The Myers donation takes the total amount of funds raised by the Library to $21.8 million, with another $5.9 million still to be raised to meet the $27.7 million target required to fund Vision 2020.
State Library Victoria is working closely with Heritage Victoria to ensure the design and development complies with all heritage requirements. Construction is due to commence in July 2017 and is due for completion by 2020. For more information, visit: www.slv.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Artist Impression of the refurbished Ian Potter Queen’s Hall (supplied)