View of the State Library Victoria in Melbourne; View of the State Library Victoria in Melbourne;

State Library Victoria , Melbourne

Reinvigorating Melbourne’s iconic library

The State Library Victoria, located in Melbourne, is Australia’s oldest and most visited public library. Its five-year redevelopment has returned the stunning heritage buildings to full public use, increasing public space by 40 per cent and creating a new world-class exhibition gallery and suite of new spaces. 

Our audio visual and acoustic design of presentation, learning and collaboration spaces has enhanced the visitor and user experience. 

Working closely with Architectus, who with Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen formed the Architectural design team, we held regular workshops early in the project to help identify the end goals and set the project up for success. We also helped guide the cost planning for the acoustic and AV design, identifying cost effective solutions to deliver on the Library’s vision.

Project Summary

5year redevelopment


40%more public space

Testing our design in Arup’s SoundLab

Being able to hear, see and even ‘feel’ the designed experience in a simulated environment, before committing to the solution, is invaluable for the client as well as the designer. In our SoundLab, we created a ‘before and after’ experience, recording the existing acoustic environment and comparing it to the proposed improvements. We overlaid video too, for a totally immersive experience. 

The result is an aural experience that lends itself to much clearer communication and speech intelligibility in critical spaces. Noise build-up in busy areas has been reduced, with acoustic environments tailored to the room function, quality and feel.

People working at desks inside the State Library Victoria in Melbourne People working at desks inside the State Library Victoria in Melbourne
Our audio visual and acoustic designs transformed the presentation, learning and collaboration spaces

Heritage buildings come with restrictions, requiring a little more ingenuity with design execution. We had to subtly hide the AV equipment and technology in spaces, while the building remained fully operational. 

The State Library Victoria redevelopment is part of its Vision 2020.

As a member of the Vision 2020 building redevelopment design team lead by Architectus/Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Arup provided expertise in acoustics and audio visual design. Their guidance and expertise throughout the project was significant and contributed to the great success of the many new spaces open to visitors. ” Sarah Slade State Library Victoria (Director Enablers)

We have been involved with refurbishment works at the library for over 20 years, including the famed domed La Trobe Reading Room. Combining structural and façade skills, we renewed the roof and its glazing, bringing natural light back in to fill the space once again.