Extending the traditional role of the public library by creating spaces which demand and excite broader public engagement

State Library of Queensland

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Donovan Hill and Peddle Thorp Architects in association
Arts Queensland / Project Services, QLD Department of Public Works
South Brisbane, QLD
December 2001 - December 2006
Full Architectural Services

25,000m² GFA (including 20,000m² public space )

5,000m² GFA building


The existing Queensland State Library was refurbished, reconfigured, and dramatically expanded to form a 25,000sqm facility including 20,000sqm of public open space. The development acts as a pivotal new precinct address to the Queensland Cultural Centre. The design reconciles a public domain with multiple large public institutions and re-establishes access to the ground plane.

Organisation integrates principal entries to the Queensland Art Gallery, the redeveloped State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Museum and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. The design provides a suite of public places and acts as a destination for events in its own right.

The briefing and design process spanned a large and complex client group with community and indigenous consultation. The Library itself has over 1,000 differing rooms and delivers 50 service programs simultaneously.

The ‘Knowledge Walk’ and ‘Queensland Terrace’ are characteristic spaces conceived and proposed by the architect during briefing and design; they have now become symbolic of the institution. They are accessible to the public, engage with the city setting and the Queensland subtropical climate. These ‘beyond the brief’ spaces have become the most popular and engaging for the library; they contribute to the life of the city, yet were never initially envisaged or briefed.



South Brisbane, QLD


RAIA Brisbane Public Architecture Commendation
RAIA Brisbane Building of the Year Award
RAIA QLD FDG Stanley Award for Public Buildings
RAIA Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture
RAIA Sire Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture

Brief Elements

  • Library
  • 20,000m² public space
  • ‘Knowledge Walk’ and ‘Queensland Terrace’ spaces


  • Library refurbished and reconfigured to provide a suite of public places that act as a destination for events
  • Re-imagining the role of the public library to create new spaces that invite broader public engagement
  • Architects played a key role in change management


Lincolne Scott
Landscape Consultant
EDAW Gillespies
Acoustic consultant
Environmental consultant
Lift Consultant
TDC Equitable
Access Consultant
Wayfinding Consultant
Dot Dash Audio
Visual Consultant