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Surry Hills Library crowned a world leader

Surry Hills Library crowned a world leader
July 28, 2011

The City of Sydney's Surry Hills Library has officially been crowned a world-leading community facility after winning one of architecture's most prestigious international awards.

The outstanding library and community centre has been awarded the Best New Global Design award at the 2011 International Architecture Awards in Chicago.

This follows the clutch of prestigious Australian prizes the building has won since opening in 2009.

Spanning four levels, the building includes a library, childcare centre, community meeting rooms, commercial kitchen and an arts and crafts space.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the award was deserved recognition for one of Sydney's best-loved community facilities, stating "the 600 people who enjoy this wonderful community facility every day already know they've got the world's best library - now this award makes it official and shows the rest of the world the exceptional services the City of Sydney delivers.

"I'm delighted our state-of-the-art Surry Hills Library and Community Centre has been recognised as an innovative and sustainable piece of architecture on the world stage, by some of the industry's toughest judges.

"Not only has our building set a new benchmark in environmental design and performance, but it has revitalised Crown Street by providing the local community with a space where everyone feels welcome.

"Our centre offers visitors a wealth of rewarding experiences, from borrowing an armful of great books or listening to live music, to taking a Pilates class or even catching up with friends."

Commissioned by the City and designed by Richard Francis-Jones of fjmt, the building is designed to dramatically reduce energy use, with:

• An internal glass atrium where specially selected plants filter the air before it is naturally cooled in an underground labyrinth and recirculated through the building, reducing the need for artificial cooling by 50%;
• A green roof which cools the building in summer and insulates it during winter; Photovoltaic cells to power the building's equipment; Rainwater for collection and reuse; 
• Recycled building materials; and Sophisticated building management systems to control the internal environment and lighting and external shutters and monitor water and energy consumption.
In addition to the new Global Design award, the Surry Hills Library and Community Centre has been recognised by a variety of top Australian awards over the past two years, including:
• National Award for Sustainable Architecture and National Award for Public Architecture at the National Architecture Awards; Public Architecture Award, Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture and John Verge Award for Interior Architecture at the NSW Architecture Awards; 
• Environmental Excellence Award at the Urban Development Institute of Australia's NSW Awards; 
• The Green Globe Award for Local Government Sustainability at the NSW Department of Environment's Awards; 
• Excellence in Construction - Public Building Award at the Master Builders Association Awards;
• Award for Excellence in Sustainability at the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating Awards; 
• Sustainability Award at the Building Product News Awards; Second place in the Emilio Ambasz Award for Green Architecture; 
• Finalist in the National Interior Design Awards; 
• Finalist in the United Nations World Environment Day Awards; 
• Finalist in the Banksia Environment Awards; 
• Highly Commended in the Asia Pacific Property Awards; 
• Highly Commended in the Interior Design of Excellence Awards; and 
• Highly Commended in the Australian Timber Design Awards for a NSW Public/Commercial Building and Best Use of Timber Panels.

This much-lauded building is also a community favourite, with more than 200,000 visitors to the Library over the past 12 months and nearly 600 passing through the doors each day. The Library holds 35,000 items in its collection, including a special range of fashion and design books, reflecting the interests and tastes of the local community.

Surry Hills Library is also home to the City's unique Late Night Library program, which offers Sydneysiders a range of exciting events on Thursday nights, from storytelling sessions and current affairs debates to live music performances and film screenings.

And more than 30 classes run in the Community Centre each week, including community cooking, meditation, tai chi, Pilates, ninjitsu, sewing and knitting, painting and drawing, and a children's mobile play bus.

For more information go to

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