A milestone was reached in one of Australia's biggest urban development sites with the official opening of a stunning, underground library and plaza by Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
Following six years of development, hundreds of residents joined the Lord Mayor on Saturday 27 October to celebrate the opening of the $61 million Green Square Library and Plaza.
"When I was elected Lord Mayor in 2004, Green Square was virtually moribund and there were huge challenges - today development is moving rapidly with an average 50 apartments completed every week," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
"Ever since we began work here, I have promised the community that the City would deliver the public facilities and infrastructure that a growing population needs to be part of a liveable, sustainable city.
"Today we're delivering on that promise. This stunning new library and plaza are part of our $540 million commitment to provide beautifully designed facilities for our community which also includes an aquatic centre, 40 parks and open space, a community and cultural precinct and new public art. $1.2 billion is being invested on infrastructure which includes the less glamorous but essential work on stormwater drains, new roads and footpaths, and a transport corridor for future light rail.
"This will all help meet the needs of the 61,000 people who will soon call Green Square home and the 22,000 people who will work here. Around 30,000 residents, almost half the total population, have already moved in.
The Lord Mayor said highlights of the new Green Square Library and Plaza include:
- an outdoor community space with a waterplay area for children;
- a 2,300 square metre part-underground library, nestled beneath the plaza, with a sunken outdoor garden, community meeting rooms and an amphitheatre;
- 40,000 items including books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, a selection of musical instruments and an increasing range of digital and technological collections are available to borrow;
- the new Green Square Customer Service Centre;
- a six-storey tower in the plaza with quiet reading rooms, spaces to hire for meetings, a technology suite and a music room with a piano so residents can practice their instruments without disturbing neighbours; and
- two new public artworks - the playful Cloud Nation, depicting the literary world from Gulliver's Travels in great detail atop the wings of a vintage aircraft, and High Water, a digital artwork responding to tidal patterns and the weather in real time.
"Over 160 architects from around the world entered the design competition for this library and it was won by a Sydney team. The winning entry, by Felicity Stewart and Matthias Hollenstein, was chosen for its inspired and unconventional design," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
"Their wonderful design completely reimagined a traditional library. As well as books there are spaces for reading, play, study and contemplation, and community spaces to hire - there is even a baby grand piano for rehearsals and recitals."
The library has already proven to be popular. In the first three weeks since it opened people have borrowed 8,059 items and 1,122 have signed up as new members. Daytime activities such as story-time, codeclub and 'make do and mend' sessions have also been at full capacity.
Every year, more than 1.2 million people visit the City's nine library branches and two library link services, and borrow more than 1.3 million items. In the last five years, the City has invested more than $111 million in new collections, technology and building infrastructure.
The Lord Mayor said nearly 80 per cent of homes in the city of Sydney were apartments with many young families now staying in the city centre.
"We see our libraries as vital community living rooms - a place to meet for a coffee, take a toddler to story-time, or for students of all ages to study and research," the Lord Mayor said.
"There's also school holiday activities such as teaching kids to code and options after dark, including our popular Late Night Library programs."
The $13 billion, 278 hectare Green Square development area stretches from Waterloo in the north to Rosebery in the south, Zetland in the east and Alexandria in the west. It is 3.5km from the city and 4km from the airport.
For more information on the Green Square Plaza and Library visit cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vision/green-square/city-of-sydney-developments/library-and-plaza
For media inquiries or images, contact Elaine Kelly.
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For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Julia Lenton.
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