State Library Victoria
Client: State Library Victoria
New commercial opportunities help shape the visionary $83m redevelopment of the State Library Victoria, due for completion in 2020
As Victoria’s major reference and research library open to the public, the State Library Victoria is the hub of the state-wide network of library and information services. Occupying an entire city block, the site including the forecourt, is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Library comprises 23 interconnected buildings dating from 1859 over 9 levels, which house collection storage, public reading rooms and administration areas, as well as exhibition/gallery, conferencing and other commercial facilities.
Funded through the State Government and philanthropic contributions, the State Library Victoria has embarked on a 5 year redevelopment project which will integrate and transform the library to improve access and wider audience engagement and enable commercial activity to support the preservation of the library and its collection for future generations.
The project aims to enable greater visitor numbers to the library, with new learning spaces engaging wider audiences and a new innovation hub and digital media centre with technologically enhanced spaces to foster entrepreneurship and contribute towards a vibrant and culturally significant retail precinct. The design scope includes the expansion of the library’s public spaces transforming into open access collection spaces and reopening the Russell Street entrance. The historic Queens Hall, the oldest part of the library and original heritage reading room will also be restored and re-opened to the public.
The completion of a feasibility and options analysis informed development of a Commercial Model that reviewed identified commercial areas, and explored further opportunities to activate and enhance engagement of diverse user groups. Examining site challenges and identifying facilities as well as requirements to optimise functionality and commercial opportunities, the Commercial Model included financial forecasts for key commercial areas to inform project priorities and a detailed scope to guide design development.
Adopted recommendations include enhanced and expanded catered venue hire opportunities, which will help facilitate greater engagement as well as providing a commercial return to support future programming. The Commercial Model developed by The Maytrix Group informed project priorities outlined in the functional design brief for the project. The adopted Commercial Model has become integral to the future planning decisions for retail and food at State Library Victoria, with focused modelling that supports the activation of public areas and increased engagement with the community.