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    Underground library at Green Square takes shape; gives space back to the precinct and Sydney

    Geraldine Chua

    Detailed designs of an underground library by architecture firm Stewart Hollenstein, in association with Canberra based Stewart Architecture, have been submitted as part of the Development Application for Green Square’s library and plaza project.

    Winning an international design competition by the City of Sydney, the practice's designs were hailed by Australian architect and Pritzker Prize recipient Glenn Murcutt as “brilliant” and “the only scheme that actively made space”.

    The library is imagined to sit beneath ground at a low level, allowing open spaces to flow up over the top and create a larger public area – essentially giving space back to the precinct and Sydney, and generating opportunities for street activation.

    Features of the state of the art library include a sunken garden that bathes the library in natural light while providing a place for children to play, an amphitheatre with timber seating for up to 160 people, and a library entrance located in a dramatic glass structure that soars 15 metres.

    The library’s slender, seven storey tower is one of the few structures in the plaza, and will contain an acoustically designed music room, community room for workshops and meetings, two floors of reading rooms, as well as a technology suite with facilities for sound and video editing.

    Children's area

    With an estimated price tag of $47 million, the library and plaza is part of the new Green square Town Centre to be built over 14 hectares of land adjacent to Green Square railway station, four kilometres south of Sydney’s city centre.

    View from tower

    This new town centre is part of the 278 hectare Green Square urban development area, where approximately $8 billion is being spent on apartments and community facilities for the 53,000 people expected to live in the area by 2030.

    Preliminary work on the library and plaza is due to begin early next year. 

    Plaza dining

    View from Zetland Avenue

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