Library - the intellectual brain of the campus

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Library - the intellectual brain of the campus


John Mainwaring, the Noosa architect who co-designed USC's library, remembers the building as "the highlight of his career".

USC's master plan put the library, as the intellectual brain of the campus, in the middle of the landscape spine. We had to acknowledge those spatial dynamics and make sure it responded well to the site and the climate.

We rejected the tradition of internalised libraries and we didn’t want a heavy, ostentatious block. We wanted it to reflect the Coast’s casual, quiet personality and natural environment.

The collage of materials was adventurous – a steel structure, reinforced concrete block, plywood and glass. It has a lovely translucence at night when all the lights are on.

The free-flowing verandah created a grand entry to the library, and the roof was designed like the leaves of a folding book.

USC's library building won six awards the year it opened, including the prestigious Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

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