Danish design firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen is partnering with Australia-based Hames Sharley to transform the existing Curtin University Library in Australia. At the center of Western Australia’s largest university, the landmark library building will be transformed into an open, light-filled building to meet the needs of future users. The team aims to create a “living library” with new pathways for visual and physical connectivity throughout the building site.
As the team states, for the past 47 years the TL Robertson Library at Curtin University in Perth, Australia has stood as an iconic brutalist structure that welcomes two million visits annually by students, faculty and the greater Perth community. The library, built in 1972, was originally designed with little natural daylight in order to protect the thousands of books and other physical materials in its collection. The new approach will open the library to the green campus and the community. The design invites the landscape in through the use of timber and other natural materials. A palette of lightweight materials and elongated windows will support a new architectural expression and add contrast to the existing concrete and brick structure.
Morten Schmidt, Founding Partner of Schmidt Hammer Lassen, said that, "We were driven by three core principles when designing TL Robertson Library: openness, access and well-being. The redevelopment complements the building’s original features with bold, contemporary architectural interventions that focus on warm, natural materiality, and contrast the current structure with open lightness.”
The team is redesigning the library to better connect to the public realm. Henderson Court, a green space on the south side of the building, will see physical barriers removed and a gradual grading of the landscape in order to create a more direct link to the south entrance. Inside the library, a new atrium will create a strong connection between the second and third levels, both of which reach out to the landscape. A makerspace, an event location, and new flexible teaching spaces will flank a grand staircase with built-in seating.
The TL Robertson Library will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022, the year the project is scheduled to complete.