Bendigo Library


  • MGS Architects (Architecture, Urban Design, Interiors)
  • Irwinconsult (Engineering)
  • Rider Levett Bucknall (Quantity Surveying)
  • Phillip Chun (Building Surveying and Access)
  • Rush Wright (Landscape)


The New Generation Bendigo Library delivers state of the art library services including community activity and meeting rooms, quiet spaces, Café’, Volunteer Resource Centre, children’s library and play ‘cubby’, gallery spaces to showcase Bendigo’s history and community art projects, upgraded research facilities for the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre, and extensive internet access to augment the community’s capacity for leisure and study activities.
The redevelopment comprises 4000 sq. m. over two levels designed to deliver a library that is flexible and inclusive where people can meet, exchange ideas and interact with each other through both library programmes and chance meeting.

Key Features


Integrated Solutions:
The redevelopment of the New Generation Bendigo Library draws upon urban design, architecture and retail design principles to activate the street interfaces, generate public interest, and extend the building to improve its presence to Hargreaves Street, Lyttleton Terrace and the park. A relocated main entrance at Hargreaves introduces an exterior room at a civic scale, accessed from the south by ramp and by new piazza stairs to the north. With the addition of the new Lyttleton Terrace entrance, access from the library’s interior is also provided to the civic/council precinct and the train and bus station to the southeast.


Design Context:
Drawing on a range of influences including the regional city’s heritage canopies, the existing buildings masonry construction and the internalised hexagonal atrium, the building’s northern and western façades have been rebuilt to maximise its civic presence, and to reflect its contemporary use.
Reframed with large precast concrete panels, the new elevations provide a canvas for the interplay of shadows from the trees, large perforated metal cladding and metal canopies below. The signature strokes of black, inspired by the work of artist Pierre Soulage, are complemented by an accent of ‘limone’, a golden-yellow colour drifting towards pistachio as intermingling with the park beyond.


Urban Interiors:
The redevelopment of the interior is anchored on two core design ideas: the positioning of an internal urban street and; the inclusion of a new double height feature atrium above the community lounge.
The new bluestone laid internal street interprets the diagonal alignment of the building to the CBD’s grid, supported by laneways at 45 degrees providing incidental movement patterns towards the rear of the library. Reconfigured as the new community heart of the Library, the central atrium space is formed below a timber, mirror and Perspex ‘lantern’, providing a kaleidoscopic cathedral of light above the main internal street.


ESD solutions are fully integrated into the fabric of the building using passive and active systems including: the reuse of existing plant that was still in good order; economy cycle air conditioning; improved boiler and chiller efficiency; and reduced fan energy and solar PV.

The design process also included analysis of sustainability options ensuring return on capital investment. Solutions include: double-glazing and sun shading to the northern façade; high thermal mass materials; insulation; and the selection of interior finishes with green credentials. Through these measures the redevelopments carbon footprint was reduced by 10% and its energy intensity (MJ/m².hro) by 13.6%.


Community Asset:
The redevelopment boasted nearly 55,000 visits during its first month of operations, a boost of 26%, with similar volume of loans. Most importantly new memberships increased over 230%, exceeding the client’s highest expectations.
“The thing I am most proud of is the community response” said City of Bendigo’s Marg Allan, Director, Organistaion Support. “That is just amazing”.

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