The library under the garden

Two architects in their 20s have been chosen to design a $40million new sunken library and integrated public space in Sydney.

5 March 2013

Green Square Sydney

The unique sunken design means the plaza space above the library can be planted with trees to provide shade, and solar access to the plaza and surrounding buildings can be maintained.

Manager Library Services, Sharan Harvey, explained the jury's take on the winning scheme, that beat off 167 entries from 29 countries: "Library design is changing radically around the world and the winning Green Square entry swung the jury because of the way the library and plaza are integrated to increase the range of activities offered. It’s a fusion with the public space and will generate the potential for a whole lot of activities that otherwise would not be available.”

The $8 billion Green Square project is Australia's largest urban development, and is expected to be home to 40,000 residents. The council had asked for a "beautiful, functional and sustainable design" for the library and community centre that would attract visitors for a range of cultural activities.

Green and energy efficient

By being set into the ground, the library is designed for efficient heating and cooling, relying on the insulation and thermal constancy of the surrounding earth. This will dramatically reduce the amount of energy used.

The library design has a reduced embodied energy (lifecycle energy balance), by having a reduced façade area and minimal structure and glazed surfaces.

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