The City of Sydney has just announced the winning team in the international competition to design a new library and plaza for Green Square, one of the city's major new developments. The jury, including famed architects John Denton, George Hargreaves, and Pritzker Prize winner Glenn Murcutt, selected the entry by Stewart Hollenstein in association with Colin Stewart Architects from a field of 167 entrants from 29 countries.
Comments from the competition jury on the winning design by Stewart Hollenstein with Colin Stewart Architects (Video courtesy of City of Sydney)
At the upcoming City of Sydney Design Excellence Forum on March 4, Sydneysiders interested in design and architecture will be given a unique insight into what convinced the competition jury to unanimously choose the innovative below-ground design.
The competition winners Felicity Stewart and Matthias Hollenstein will reveal how they responded to the brief and pitched their design to the jury.
Members of the jury will reveal why they called the Stewart Hollenstein scheme “fantastic”, “dynamite” and “absolutely world class”.
The jury said from the outset the winning design was, “by far the most interesting and stimulating” and predicted that when built it would become “a beacon and oasis for the whole Green Square community”.
Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the city had a long history promoting design excellence and chose an international competition as the best way to find the most beautiful, functional and sustainably designed building.
“The winning design shows what an inspired result our international competition has delivered. I am delighted that residents of Green Square and all across Sydney will be able to enjoy this exciting new library and plaza,” Moore said.
“The Surry Hills Library and Community Center, opened in 2010, has gone on to win numerous awards including a prize for the Best New Global Design at the International Awards in Chicago. I’m sure the new library at Green Square will continue this tradition of design excellence.”
Before deciding on the winner, judges drew up a shortlist of five finalists who each prepared detailed designs for the second stage of the competition. These schemes and their designers will also be outlined at the Design Excellence Forum.
Graham Jahn AO, the City’s Director of City Planning, Development and Transport, will ask jury members Professor Glenn Murcutt AO and Brisbane City Council’s Manager Library Services, Sharan Harvey, to explain their take on the winning scheme.
Jury member Sharan Harvey said library design is changing radically around the world and the winning Green Square entry swung the jury because of the way the library and plaza are integrated to increase the range of activities offered.
“It’s a fusion with the public space and will generate the potential for a whole lot of activities that otherwise would not be available,” she said.
Jury members will discuss how they assessed the proposals and how they expect the winning design to help create a sense of community in Green Square.
Spread over 278 hectares, mainly in the suburbs of Zetland and Beaconsfield just three miles south of Central Sydney, Green Square has become home to 11,000 new residents since 2000 with another 30,000 people to move there as new homes, public space and offices are built in the next two decades.
The judges said the winner put up a “convincing argument for placing the Plaza over the library thereby providing both a building and a suitably scaled urban plaza for future developments around the site”.
Audience members will also have a chance to hear about the process and hear from the winning architects.