State Library Victoria has unveiled the first of its redeveloped spaces as part of its $88.1 million transformation to increase public space by 40 percent and seating by 70 percent.

State Library Victoria
Photography by Patrick Rodriguez

Two new reading rooms have opened along with a dedicated a special events venue supported by a state-of-the-art production kitchen, and a vibrant new lounge and meeting space, which is also home to a 60 percent larger Readings bookshop and new cafe, Guild.

This shared space, designed for working, collaborating and relaxing, will also feature a large-scale original artwork by Melbourne artist Tai Snaith, spanning a 29x5m wall.

Formerly housing the Melbourne Museum from 1906 to 1997 and the NGV from 1999 to 2002, the redeveloped sites are now accessed by two new entrances – the historic Russell Street entrance, which was closed for more than a decade, and a new accessible entrance on La Trobe Street.

A brand new, world-class exhibition gallery, the Victoria Gallery, endowed by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation, will also open in May 2019 as part of Vision 2020.

“We’re now at the halfway point of this landmark project and this is our first look at the stunning transformation of State Library Victoria,” says minister for creative industries Martin Foley.

“This visionary project will ensure our State Library continues to be a welcoming and inspiring place for all Victorians, as it has been for the past 162 years.”

The design for Vision 2020 was led by multi-award winning Australasian firm, Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, one of Scandinavia’s most recognised architectural practices.