If there was a dome you would indefinitely want to be stuck under, it would be the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.
Currently under construction and located 75 kilometres from Melbourne, the $45 million building will feature a deliberately modern domed design by ARM Architecture – a design developed to complement rather than compete with existing heritage buildings in the precinct.
The idea of blending the building and park through various forms was explored during the concept design phase. The final design of The Dome, conceived as an erosion of spherical forms, not only extends the building into the park, but is reminiscent of great library reading rooms such as the State Library of Victoria.
One of the goals of the project, realised through this contemporary design, is to serve as a catalyst for further development and increased activity in central Geelong.
The new nine-storey building will replace the existing structure, which is more than 50 years old, and be built on the original building’s footprint in Johnstone Park. The expanded facility will consist of a café, community areas for meetings and learning programs, and exhibition spaces connected to the Geelong Art Gallery.
Stretching over 6,000 square metres, the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre will also include a children’s exploration and discovery zone, a youth area, as well as a heritage centre repository. When completed, it will hold 120,000 print and multimedia collection items.
These various amenities allow the library to provide access to information through print collections and multi-media platforms, as well as offer public meeting spaces for locals and visitors alike.
The redevelopment is funded by the City of Greater Geelong ($20 million), the State Government ($15 million) and the Federal Government ($10 million). According to Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, the new facility will “strengthen access to information and learning for a projected population of 500,000 by 2059”.
But it is the design that will first draw the people in, said Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons.
“I love history and heritage, and the building that will be rising before your eyes over the next two years will allow the Heritage Centre to tell the story of Geelong brilliantly, displaying it in a way that we’ve never been able to do before,” he said.
The project will create approximately 100 jobs during construction and 17 on-going jobs. Work on the building is expected to be completed by late 2015.