The State Library of Victoria has unveiled the first stage of its $88.1 million redevelopment entitled Vision 2020.
The project, led by architecture firms Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, will eventually increase the library's public space by 40 per cent and seating by 70 per cent.
Vision 2020 redevelopment, partly funded by the Victorian Government, has currently the halfway point with two new reading rooms and a dedicated events venue, now open to the public.
A vibrant new lounge and meeting space, which is also home to a 60 per cent larger readings bookshop and new cafe are also part of the new refurbishment.
President of the Library Board of Victoria John Wylie said the opening of the new spaces marked an exciting milestone in the once-in-a-generation redevelopment of Australia’s oldest and busiest public library.
Two new entrances are have also been completed, the re-opened historic Russell Street entrance, which has been closed for more than ten years and a new accessible entrance on La Trobe Street.
“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,” Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said.
“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.”
A brand new, 500sq m exhibition exhibition gallery, the Victoria Gallery, donated by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation, will also open mid-2019 as part of Vision 2020.
The $88.1 million project has been funded by $60.4 million from the Victorian Government, with the remainder raised through philanthropic support.