Green Square Library and Plaza is a 3,000 sqm public library and 8,000 sqm plaza located at the heart of Green Square, Australia’s largest urban renewal area, which will become home to 60,000 new residents and in turn, the densest part of the Australia.
The project brief called for two distinct components — a public plaza and a library. The unique design response fuses these two elements together by placing the library largely underground and maximising the public open space at ground level. This arrangement allows the community to gather outdoors and enjoy the pleasant Sydney climate, whilst providing a light-filled, community haven below. 42 skylights deliver light to the space below and where visitors can retreat from the noise of the city.
Key volumes protrude from the underground library puncturing the public realm, bringing light, air and access to the space below. The legible geometries of a triangle, circle, square and trapezium are placed strategically as a field of social instruments. The design is intentionally informal and programmatically sustainable, providing a shared territory for multiple uses — suitable for the evolving role of the library and an expanding population. The building includes brightly coloured meeting rooms, a computer lab, a music room for practice and performance, double height reading room, children’s area and outdoor amphitheatre for events.
The exemplary project achieves a 5-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. Its sustainability features include a central wastewater system and a low energy displacement ventilation system within the library bookshelves.
Green Square Library and Plaza is a lounge; a classroom; a café; a garden; a place to find answers; a place to read; a place to meet a friend; a quiet spot to be alone. It functions as the humble ‘urban living room’ for a growing community.
Photos by Tom Roe and Julien Lanoo
Credits: - Studio Hollenstein - Matthias Hollenstein