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The First Stage of the State Library Victoria's Transformation Is Now Open to the Public

The $88 million revamp sees the addition of two new reading rooms, a dedicated events space, a larger Readings bookstore and a new cafe to the Swanston Street institution.
By Libby Curran
September 21, 2018
By Libby Curran
September 21, 2018

The Grand Dame of Swanston Street, the State Library Victoria, is officially bursting into its next era of life, with the first stages of its hefty redevelopment today unveiled to the public.

At the halfway point of the building's $88.1 million revamp, visitors will now find two new reading rooms, a dedicated events space complete with huge production kitchen and space for 220, and a new lounge off Russell Street. There's a new Readings bookstore that eclipses the original library outpost, as well as brand new cafe Guild, helmed by the team at Almond Milk Co. This little gem will be serving seasonal salads and sandwiches, Sensory Lab espresso and 'coffee day passes' that'll get you a whole day's supply of filter coffee when you madly need to meet a deadline.

Part of the new shared space also boasts a 29-metre-long original work by Melbourne artist Tai Snaith, which is bound to provide some sure-fire inspiration for the various working happening within.

A new entrance to the building has been opened on La Trobe Street, while the historic Russell Street entrance, closed for more than a decade, has made its triumphant return complete with a lounge and welcome area. The famed site, which was also home to the Melbourne Museum from 1906–1997 and the NGV from 1999–2002, has been in operation for 162 years. Heading up the transformation are Australasian firm Architectus and Scandinavia's Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.

The library's Swanston Street entrance and ground floor are currently closed to the public while they're given their own makeover, and are expected to reopen by spring 2019.

Images: Patrick Rodriguez.

Published on September 21, 2018 by Libby Curran


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