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Kerry Hill Architects have won the tender to design the new City of Perth Public Library and plaza.
The new $54.8m library and plaza forms part of the $580m St George’s Cathedral Heritage Precinct redevelopment, and will be constructed on the site of the current Law Chambers Building, which is set to be demolished.
The new six-storey, 3,500sqm building will include the public lending library and reading rooms along with meeting rooms, gallery spaces, a café and amenities. The design features a circular volume with a glazed ground floor that overlooks the public plaza, and a vertical cladding on the upper levels that will give the building a semi-transparent skin.
The project will be the city’s first civic building built by the council since the Perth Concert Hall, designed by architects Jeffrey Howlett and Don Bailey and opened in 1973. Kerry Hill’s success in the competition comes after the firm completed the $100m State Theatre Centre in Perth in January 2011.
Donaldson + Warne/Denton Corker Marshall, Cox Howlett and Bailey Woodland and Kerry Hill Architects had been shortlisted in the two-stage design competition, which attracted 18 submissions. The three shortlisted firms submitted detailed design concepts for the final stage of the competition, with Kerry Hill’s proposal selected as the winner by the Council.
Announcing the tender, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the Council approved of the “distinctive circular flow of the building concept and its intermittent vertical cladding as well as its orientation to natural light,” while the public plaza would provide “a restful public space”.
Scaffidi added that the project would “help to invigorate the historical, but under-used and rather uninviting area of the city,” revitalising the precinct while complementing the heritage aspects of the surrounding heritage buildings.
Construction is expected to begin in November 2012, following the demolition of the Law Chambers Building. A completion date is expected for late 2014. Other projects included in the Cathedral Heritage Precinct redevelopment include The Old Treasury Building refurbishment by Mirvac/FJM, the refurbishment of the Public Trustees Building and improvements to the Panoramic Building.