Public to reclaim their library

By Ellen Hill

The State Library of Victoria will get an $83 million facelift, including the restoration of the historic Queens Hall.

Staged over five years, the project is expected to open a further 40 per cent of the building to the public.

The State Government has committed $55.4 million to the project, with the library to raise the remaining funds through philanthropic donations.

The project will see Queens Hall reopen for the first time in more than 12 years.

It will be returned to its former glory as a reading room, with part of the renovation involving opening skylights to flood the hall with natural light.

The redevelopment will also reopen the Russell St entrance to the public, create new exhibition spaces, education facilities and a rooftop garden terrace.

A consortium of international architects has been selected to undertake the project.

Multi-award winning Australasian design firm Architectus will collaborate with Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, one of Scandinavia’s most recognised architectural practices, to transform the building.

Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley said the redevelopment would improve the library for all Victorians.

“Our State Library is a centre of knowledge, inspiration and innovation. It’s also Australia’s oldest and most used public library,” Mr Foley said.

“The calibre of this consortium will bring our library to life in new and exciting ways – making an even better experience for Victorians and visitors alike, and adding to Melbourne’s reputation as city of world-class design.”

The project is due to be completed by 2020.

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