This new Research Facility for Presbyterian Ladies’ College Sydney developed the existing 2 storey library into a 4 storey research centre. The project required careful design and management to ensure it met the School’s brief for a ‘State of the Art’ facility that embraced and seamlessly incorporated advanced technology and recognized changes in pedagogy, respected and enhanced its rich heritage context, enabled the existing library to remain operational for the duration of construction and created a landmark building both within and from outside the school campus.
The architecture is bold, handsome and respectful of its context. A stepped façade to the north help to articulate the building bulk provide a formality and collegiate feel, which is reminiscent of the heritage buildings. To the south, the dynamic glazed stair projection, with its spectacular views down the axis of ‘The Strand’ Croydon, and the impressive four storey gateway façade creates an appropriate and striking entry to the School from their southern access.
The interiors are more relaxed and playful, designed as an open plan environment with strong connections within and between floors. The focus is a central void over two levels which connect the junior library at ground floor to the senior library above. The open and flexible layouts at each floor and the provision for small breakout areas reflect the distinct change in learning from the structured classroom arrangement, where students are taught, to a more relaxed social environment where students can learn, be it from a teacher or the number of other means available to them. This is perfectly illustrated by the inclusion of a café at ground floor which is designed as an extension of the library spaces and an area where students can socialize, eat and continue their learning experience.