Global design and development trends will centre in Perth with the dramatic new City of Perth Library, which draw its programming inspiration from centres as far away as New York. That influence is fitting for its location in the centre of the Cathedral Square plaza – a civic hub designed for Perth’s international visitors and sophisticated locals, the precinct will look outwards to a global audience, while remaining firmly grounded as the first major public building built by the City of Perth for over forty years.
Features like a late-night library, dedicated age group zones and a wisdom tree are all part of the state-of-the-art library’s innovative program, which is heavily focused on community development. The library will also include meeting rooms, gallery spaces, storytelling zones, a café and amenities, and look to sustainability by incorporating sustainable design features and making best use of the site’s natural light and location.
As well as cutting-edge facilities and well thought-out programming, the library’s look is also contemporary and fresh. Designed by Kerry Hill Architects, who worked throughout the Cathedral Square precinct, the library is an elegant, circular building of a thoroughly modern design – but it still respects the heritage flavour of the site. The curved sides of the new building allow views to the heritage buildings in the area, which were previously obscured by the Old Law Chambers and the Playhouse Theatre. Both buildings were demolished in the restoration of the outdoor plaza. Now, the light-filled library not only provides views of the heritage sites, but also attracts people to the precinct who previously wouldn’t have entered, because of its dark, closed-off feel. It’s a new dimension to an old, familiar location – which is exactly the kind of international twist befitting such an innovative precinct.