Victoria Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley
State Library Redevelopment Reaches Halfway Mark
Victor P Taffa
State Library Victoria’s historic Russell Street entrance opened today after being closed for more than a decade signalling the halfway point of the Vision 2020 redevelopment, backed by the Andrews Government.
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley officially opened the first of the redeveloped public spaces including:
- 2 new reading rooms set in stunning heritage galleries,
- Dedicated new event space supported by a full production kitchen,
- Vibrant new lounge and meeting space.
“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.” Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said.
“State Library Victoria is responding to the needs of the community by opening up more of this beautiful, iconic building to the public providing additional reading rooms, public spaces and function capacity.”
Redevelopment has also seen the expansion of Readings bookshop, with a 60 % larger store and the installation of a large-scale original artwork by Melbourne artist Tai Snaith.
Formerly housing the Museum of Victoria from 1906-1997 and the NGV from 1999-2002, the redeveloped library spaces are now accessed by 2 new entrances:
- Historic Russell Street entrance,
- New accessible entrance on La Trobe Street.
From today these 2 new entrances are the main entry points for library visitors. The Swanston Street entrance is temporarily closed for construction and will reopen in spring 2019 when the redevelopment is complete.
Design for Vision 2020 was led by multi award-winning Australasian firm Architectus, and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects one of Scandinavia’s leading architectural practices.
When this ambitious project is complete, public space at the library will increase by 40 % and seating by almost 70 %. Iconic heritage spaces including Ian Potter Queens Hall will also return to public use.
$88.1 Million project is funded by $60.4 Million from the State Government, with the remainder raised through generous philanthropic support.
State Library Victoria is Australia’s oldest and most visited public library, welcoming around 2 Million visitors each year.
NGV National Gallery of Victoria