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Major upgrade to transform Curtin’s iconic library

Media release

Curtin University’s iconic Library will undergo a $60 million refurbishment including a large atrium and auditorium-style study stairs as part of plans to modernise the building in time for its 50th anniversary.

Curtin Robertson Library design

Leading national architecture firm Hames Sharley is working with international partner Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects to deliver the TL Robertson Library’s design solution.

The TL Robertson Library is the busiest building on Curtin’s Perth Campus with two million visits a year, which includes members of the wider community.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the role of libraries was changing as a result of the rapid advances in technology and the major refurbishment would ensure Curtin’s Library continued to respond to the contemporary needs of the community.

“Hames Sharley is a leading national design practice with offices all over Australia and Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen brings global expertise to contemporary library design with experience in China, New Zealand, Canada and Denmark,” Professor Terry said.

“This project will support the TL Robertson Library’s role as a key meeting place and activity centre on Curtin’s Perth Campus and its transformation into a place for digital innovation and social collaboration for students, staff and the wider community.”

Hames Sharley Director and Education Leader James Edwards said supporting and enhancing the design profession in Western Australia was of the highest importance.

“As the State’s largest employer of building design professionals, Hames Sharley is delighted that we have been able to bring internationally recognised colleagues Schmidt Hammer Lassen to Perth to work with the University, and with our Curtin-educated architects and interior designers,” Mr Edwards said.

“The local knowledge and sensitivity combined with a Danish perspective has produced a uniquely Curtin design. We believe the completed project will make a great contribution to the ongoing mission of the University – and we hope it will be an inspiration to all students of design.”

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Founding Partner Morten Schmidt said the firm was driven by three core principles when designing TL Robertson Library: openness, access and well-being.

“The design complements the building’s original features with bold, contemporary architectural interventions that focus on warm, natural materiality, and contrast the original structure with open lightness,” Mr Schmidt said.

“The journey through and within the building is simplified by creating strategic architectural connections between spaces that are fluid and intuitive. The transformation will visually and physically connect the library to the heart of the campus and the new developments, further underlining the importance of libraries in higher education – not only as institutions for academic endeavour, but also as cultural meeting points for all.”

The new features include a large atrium in the centre of the building with auditorium-style study stairs connecting the second and third levels as well as new flexible teaching spaces. The refurbishment aims to address ageing infrastructure and enhance the experience for students.

“The re-design focuses on preserving the building’s iconic brutalist architecture and creating additional internal spaces spanning more than 2000sqm to facilitate informal learning, knowledge sharing and collaboration across the University,” Professor Terry said.

“The design will also enhance the Library’s connection with Sir Charles Court Promenade and the surrounding public areas.”

Construction is expected to start later this year and will be staged to ensure the library remains open throughout all stages of works.

The TL Robertson Library will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.

For more information about the project, visit here.