Green Square library unveiled

This week I unveiled an innovative below ground design for the City of Sydney's new Green Square Library and Plaza.

After an international design competition, the inspired and unconventional design presented by Sydney architects Stewart Hollenstein won over a jury of leading Australian and international architects.

We had 167 competition entries from 29 countries. The extremely high quality of entries reaffirmed the City's global design credentials for design and innovation.

The City is proud to be one of the few organisations in Australia to conduct open architecture competitions and to build those winning designs.

The jury unanimously chose Stewart Hollenstein's unique design as the winner, praising their entry as "by far the most interesting and stimulating" of more than 160 received.

Jury member Glenn Murcutt, a winner of architecture's highest award, the Pritzker Prize, told me the winning design was "brilliant" and "a superb solution".

"You have got dynamite, it's fantastic…it has the potential to be one of the most exciting places to be in Sydney," he said.

The jury members said instead of having a library used only as a quiet retreat for reading books, this modern library would appeal to all residents and become "a gateway to knowledge and a hub of community activity".

Stewart Hollenstein describe the library and plaza as a "community living room". Their plans include an amphitheatre, a sunken storytelling garden and even music rooms where residents can practice their instruments without disturbing neighbours.

Mobile furniture will allow for impromptu concerts, a tower for movie projections, and a water play area that will keep children cool in summer. A giant glass wedge will sit above the library, with a grassed tramway and wide open spaces for festivals alongside.

What a wonderful vision for our community!

Green Square is Australia's biggest urban development located four kilometres south of Sydney Central that will have at its core the 14-hectare Green Square Town Centre.

Within two decades, the 278-hectare $8 billion Green Square project will be home to 40,000 people - equivalent to the entire population of Dubbo.

The City has allocated $25 million for the library works, and a further $15 million for the public domain and plaza. Refinement of the design will continue this year and work will begin when ownership of the site is transferred to the City and then remediated, with construction likely to finish in 2017.

The City of Sydney has a proven track record of investing in high-quality design and we've seen projects such as the Surry Hills Library and the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre recognised internationally. I'm sure this design will also win international accolades, as well as the support of local residents.

The winning design for the Green Square Library and Plaza competition is on display at the Tote Building, 100 Joynton Avenue, Zetland, and online at

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