State Library Victoria’s significant redevelopment, designed by national architecture and design studio Architectus and Denmark’s Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, won across three categories at the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Architecture Awards via a digital awards ceremony on Friday 10 July 2020.

The transformative project was awarded the coveted Melbourne Prize, as well as architecture awards for Heritage – Conservation and Public Architecture.

Working in partnership, Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects were tasked with rethinking and revitalising the existing spaces of the Library in order to unlock possibilities, create connections, and provide a framework for the Library’s ongoing and future evolution.

Through the redesign, 40 percent more public space was made available for use. The redevelopment and design focused on the Victoria Gallery, The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, the Russell Street entrance, the Isabella Fraser Room and the Quad, which connects all four of the library’s activity courtyards such as the Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter.

Ruth Wilson, Principal and Melbourne Studio Leader at Architectus, says: “It’s a huge honour to receive these awards for our work on the State Library Victoria. 

"In a field of such amazing projects across multiple categories, all practices should be congratulated, and thanks goes especially to the Australian Institute of Architects and the juries for achieving an exceptional awards program in such challenging circumstances.”

The design concept for the library put users at the centre, providing an open, accessible, and welcoming experience for all ages and cultural backgrounds.

“The Library has been evolving for over 160 years and through the redevelopment, we have prepared the Library for its future uses, cementing its position in Melbourne’s history as the centre of inspiration and education.

“Our team and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects had a firm philosophy of revealing the heritage aspects of the building rather than recreating them.

"We’re very proud of the finished product and how each of the spaces has come back to life, with heritage details once hidden for many years uncovered for the public to enjoy,” says Wilson.