This year marks the 10th anniversary of State Library of Queensland’s building redevelopment — a monumental project that effectively doubled the size of the original 1980s Robin Gibson designed building. It was part of a major $291 million Millennium Arts Project which was a state wide infrastructure program by the Queensland Government in the early 2000s.

In 2002 Donovan Hill in association with Peddle Thorp Architects won an international design competition to redesign the State Library. Asia Pacific Design Library (APDL) went back through Queensland Memory’s collection and revisited that time from a design point of view. It was a wonderful opportunity to look through our recent history and reflect upon the mammoth effort required to construct a first class 21st century library.

APDL has created a small exhibition on Level 2 in the Design Lounge which casts a detailed eye on some of the architectural elements and the interesting ephemera that was uncovered in the Millennium Library Project records collection.

Hanging Chandeliers (Level 2 near the Red Box lift)
The hanging chandeliers were an intriguing find in the collection. There are five pristine folded books which formed the ‘crystal drops’ on an enormous chandelier installation that hung in the Knowledge Walk during the official opening of the building in November 2006.

The Book Chandelier installation was created by Tasmania-based artist Ritchie Ares Doña. Interestingly, many of the ‘drops’ can still be found throughout the building, albeit slightly yellowed with age, as they were kept as souvenirs by staff!

Architectural plans (Level 2 near the Red Box lift)
We uncovered an entire box filled to the brim with tightly rolled AO and A1 plans. They are the original working drawings from the redevelopment. It contains design drafts, furniture and fixture plans and other miscellaneous plans that were used over the four years of design and construction.

On display is the entire box of plans to illustrate the various iterations of the drawings which were generated during the design and development phase.

Water Colour renders (APDL window gallery in the Design Lounge)
It was a thrill to see that we had copies of the water colour renderings which were the initial concepts during the design competition stage of the Millennium Arts Project in 2002.

Brisbane-based artist and architect, Chris Battersby created the art work for Donovan Hill and Peddle Thorp Architects. There are five beautifully executed water colour renderings which illustrate how the architects envisaged the new library. Some of the ideas were never fully realised such as the elevated Millennium Walkway and a four-storey River Room but, generally speaking, the art works are remarkably similar to the final built product.

On display is a building section plan which articulates the vision for the State Library building.

Fixtures and Fittings (long display cabinets in the APDL Design Lounge)
In our long display cabinets in the Design Lounge we have laid out the contents from a fixtures and fittings box. The contents revealed many of the samples that we see in use in the building today. In the cabinets you will see the tile and carpet samples, the concrete colour samples and also the original design brief for the building.

Time lapse of State Library of Queensland build (near back windows of APDL Design Lounge)
It is hard to imagine the scale of the State Library build and to remember the site as it was originally. The video images show the original 1988 Robin Gibson designed State Library and how it was eventually enveloped and then transformed into the award-winning building that stands now.

Architectural Models (APDL Design Lounge)
Perhaps the crowning glories of the exhibition are the two large architectural models. The smaller model was the competition entry created by Donovan Hill with Peddle Thorpe Architects in 2002, while the larger model is one of the last models created of the building in 2005.

Having the two models sit side by side shows how the dream became the reality and allows visitors to wonder at the marvel that is design and architecture.

SLQ Celebrates! is a day of discovery and festivity to celebrate 10 years since State Library took on its current award-winning design, featuring markets, music, food, creative activities, exhibitions, and tours.When: Sat 12 November from 10am – 5pm

Where: State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Brisbane

Please join the APDL Design Tour at 1pm which will take visitors on a tour of the building. Discover the design journey of our building and learn more about its features. Spaces are limited so please sign up at the info tent on the day.

A detailed eye on Millennium Library Project collection will be on display in the APDL Design Lounge, level 2 of State Library Queensland until Sunday 28 November.

References

Millennium Library Project Records

Edited time lapse of State Library of Queensland build

Anita Lewis

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