Danish architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, together with Australia-based Hames Sharley, is leading the redevelopment of the TL Robertson Library at Curtin University in Perth making it more than just a storehouse of books.

Built in 1972, the library has stood as an iconic brutalist structure that welcomes two million visits annually by students, faculty and the greater Perth community.

Originally designed with little natural daylight in order to protect the thousands of books and other physical materials in its collection, Schmidt Hammer Lassen says they aim to create a “living library” by opening up new pathways for visual and physical connectivity throughout the building site, while bringing natural light into the space.

“We were driven by three core principles when designing TL Robertson Library: openness, access and well-being,” says Morten Schmidt, founding partner of Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

“The redevelopment complements the building’s original features with bold, contemporary architectural interventions that focus on warm, natural materiality, and contrast the current structure with open lightness.”

A clean palette of lightweight materials supporting a bold architectural expression will add a light, crisp contrast to the existing concrete and brick structure, says the Danish firm.

“This project will support the TL Robertson Library’s role as a key meeting place and activity centre on Curtin’s Perth Campus and its transformation into a place for digital innovation and social collaboration for students, staff, and the wider community,” says Professor Deborah Terry, Vice-Chancellor at Curtin University.