An innovative below ground vision has been chosen by the City of Sydney as the winner of an international design competition for the new Green Square Library and plaza.
A jury of leading Australian and international architects unanimously chose the entry from Stewart Hollenstein with Colin Stewart Architects as the winner praising it 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, hailed the winning design as “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.
Multi-award-winning Victorian architect John Denton, who chaired the jury, said the scheme with a library below ground and an inviting open plaza above was “absolutely world class” and would see the project become “a beacon and an oasis” for the whole Green Square community.
Sydney architect Felicity Stewart, 29, was delighted she and her colleague from university days, Matt Hollenstein, 28, had won.
“We are absolutely thrilled and the nicest part is that this is a concept we are absolutely passionate about because it puts people above everything,” Ms Stewart said.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore described the winning design by the young Sydney architects as “an inspired and unconventional vision for a new library that will become the heart of the growing community at Green Square.”
“This is a big day in the history of Green Square. The City is proud to be one of the few organisations in Australia to conduct open architecture competitions and to build those winning designs.
“Our competition winners, Felicity Stewart and Matthias 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 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 of community!”
The jury said the project would shape Green Square’s character and instead of having a library used only as a quiet retreat for reading books, the modern library would appeal to all residents and become “a gateway to knowledge and a hub of community activity”.
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 Lord Mayor said architects from 29 countries had submitted 167 entries to the open competition which demonstrated the City’s growing international reputation for fostering good design.
“We were thrilled with the high quality entries, reaffirming the City’s global design credentials,” she said.
“Green Square has a rich past and now an exciting future in store. New infrastructure, coupled with improved transport options and retail and social precincts will transform Green Square into one of the city’s finest and most easily accessible villages.”
“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.”
Both still in their late 20s, the principals of Stewart Hollenstein have established an emerging practice that teamed with Felicity’s architect father, Colin Stewart, to provide the required services.
The jury praised the City of Sydney for “its courage, commitment and initiative” in hosting the international competition and urged other governments to follow its example because of the opportunities competitions provide for young talent to emerge from the architectural profession.
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 winning design for the Green Square Library and Plaza competition is on display at the Tote Building, 100 Joynton Avenue, Zetland, and online at greensquarelibrary.com.au
For more information please contact City of Sydney media: Matthew Moore, 02 9246 7239 or 0431 050 963 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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