Four teams of public and heritage building design experts will compete for the brief to redesign the 1856-built State Library of Victoria by architect Joseph Reed.

Major Projects Victoria first called for expressions of interest for the redevelopment back in November 2015 and has now revealed its favoured bidders for the $83 million project.

The four shortlisted consortia will be led by architecture firms Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen, ARM Architecture, Conrad Gargett Lyons and Hassell with support from architects and engineers with expertise in building conservation.

The full shortlist of consortia:

  • Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen, with support from Andronas Conservation Architects, Irwin Consult and Steensen Varming Engineers
  • ARM Architecture, with support from Bryce Raworth Heritage Architects, Bonacci Group and Norman Disney & Young Engineers
  • Conrad Gargett and Lyons Architecture, with support from Bonacci Group and Norman Disney & Young Engineers
  • Hassell, with support from Purcell Heritage Architects and AECOM Engineers

The redevelopment intends to re-open the Russell Street entrance to the iconic State Library building as well as transform the structure’s dome galleries into open-access collection rooms, creating a more accessible and transformable public library.  

The long established Queen’s Hall, which was closed in 2003 after being deemed too hazardous, will also be restored and re-opened for the public, while a rooftop garden terrace, a dedicated children’s and youth space have also been earmarked for development. In total, the development will open up 40 per cent more of the building to the public.

The shortlisted lead-architects were selected on the back of their strong experience in the field of heritage architecture as well their proven advocacy for innovation in public facilities.

Each have publicised experience with public building design. In 2015, ARM Architecture won Australia’s top Public Architecture Award for their work on The Galleries of Remembrance at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.  

Architectus and Conrad Gargett also have experience in refurbishing and resurrecting culturally significant public buildings, most recently for Architectus with their restoration of the Roma Street Railway Station in 2011, and Conrad Gargett with their expansion of heritage-listed Goddard Building in the University of Queensland.

A recent heritage-project from Hassell Architects is their Kalgoorlie Courthouse project, in which the firm incorporated a modern courthouse into Kalgoorlie’s most significant 19th Century heritage buildings.

The winning architect will be announced in March 2016. Construction will begin in 2017 and the project is expected to be completed in 2020.