The State Library of Victoria will open its doors on 5 December 2019 following a 5-year, $88.1 million redevelopment project.
One of Melbourne's most iconic buildings, the 160-year-old library went through an ambitious and extensive transformation project, which will increase public space by 40 per cent and seating by 70 per cent.
The Vision 2020 design for the library was led by an international consortium of award-winning architecture firms including Australasian design firm Architectus and Scandinavia’s Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. The construction was executed by Built, one of Australia’s largest private construction groups with extensive experience in complex heritage refurbishment.
The redevelopment was funded by $60.4 million from the Victorian Government, with the remainder raised through philanthropic and public contributions.
“For 163 years, the Library has been a democratic place for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather, learn and grow. This visionary redevelopment would not have been possible without the incredible support of the Victorian Government, our generous donors and the public, who are testament to the Library’s value in a rapidly changing world,” State Library Victoria acting CEO, Sarah Slade says.
“People are at the heart of everything we do and we’re delighted that a new generation of visitors – be they children, students, creatives, researchers or entrepreneurs – will have access to a range of world-leading spaces and offerings in our transformed Library,” Slade says.
The Russell Street entrance and accompanying new spaces opened in the first stage of Vision 2020, as well as the La Trobe Reading Room, Dome Galleries, Redmond Barry Reading Room, Cowen Gallery, and the North and South Rotundas, all of which remain open to the public.
The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, the Library’s original reading room will reopen next month, and will function as a reading room by day and an opulent events venue by night.
The renovated library will also open a suite of new spaces and services including: Hansen Hall, supported by the Hansen Little Foundation, a vibrant new collaborative space to meet, work and connect; Conversation Quarter, endowed by the Hansen Little Foundation, a state-of-the-art public forum for lectures, conferences and workshops; Ideas Quarter, home to StartSpace, a new service enabled by the Christine Christian Foundation and a dedicated co-working space for early stage start-ups and small businesses; Create Quarter, featuring spaces for group work and school programs, with a calendar of pop-up talks and events; and Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter, a purpose-built space for children and families to read, learn and play.
Victoria Gallery, endowed by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation is a brand new world-class exhibition space opening 24 October.