FOLLOWING an international design competition, the City of Sydney this week announced that Sydney architectural firm Stewart Hollenstein, in association with Colin Stewart Architects, has won the right to design the $40 million Green Square Library and Plaza.
The winning design is based on a below ground vision, with a single level, generally open-plan library and an outdoor plaza placed on top. It also features an amphitheatre, water play area, music rooms and a sunken garden for reading and relaxing.
A six-member competition jury said the Stewart Hollenstein scheme was by far the most interesting and stimulating design and unanimously agreed that it was the most appropriate proposal for the site.
"It was the only scheme to challenge the notion of placing a building in the Plaza, managing to put forward a strong argument for placing the Plaza over the Library, thereby providing both a building and a suitably scaled urban plaza for the future developments around the site…" the jury said.
The jury said the project would shape Green Square's character and instead of having a library used only as a quiet retreat for reading books, the modern library would appeal to all residents and become "a gateway to knowledge and a hub of community activity".
Multi-award-winning Victorian architect John Denton, who chaired the jury, said the scheme with a library below ground and an inviting open plaza above was "absolutely world class" and would see the project become "a beacon and an oasis" for the whole Green Square community.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore described the winning design by the young Sydney architects as "an inspired and unconventional vision for a new library that will become the heart of the growing community at Green Square."
A total of 167 entries from 29 countries were received as part of the Green Square Library and Plaza design competition, with the five shortlisted entries coming from JPE Design Studio, John Wardle Architects, Flannery & de la Pole, Felix Laboratories and the eventual winning entrant, Stewart Hollenstein, in association with Colin Stewart Architects.
The $8 billion Green Square project aims to transform the City's southern edge, with 40,000 new residents and 22,000 new workers expected across the 278 hectare urban renewal area by 2030.
The library and plaza will form part of the 14 hectare commercial, retail and cultural centre of the redevelopment. The City of Sydney has allocated $25 million for the completion of the Green Square Library and a further $15 million for the public domain and plaza surrounding it.
Construction is expected to commence after site remediation work and transfer of ownership, with completion expected in 2017. More information is available from the Green Square Library website at <http://www.greensquarelibrary.com.au/>.