A new library built on an old heritage site in Sydney's inner west

The heritage-listed original hospital building has been revived and incorporated into an expansive new library and community centre. The new Marrickville Library features a large auditorium stair enveloped by a void that spans three storeys, providing perimeter study areas and views across space. The upper floors of the building host the library's collections and various reading and study spaces, including bookable meeting/study rooms.

Fabricated in Italy, the TTW Timber team designed the circular timber structural columns with steel end connection as per Eurocodes. Our timber experts undertook gap analysis checks to confirm compliance with Australian codes.

The columns, some over two storeys tall, support the distinctive floating zig-zag roof at the valleys but in an irregular grid. The sectional shape of the roof takes its cue from the pitched roof of the old hospital building, with the amplitude of each successive pitch reducing across the width of the roof.

The steel roof structure consists of a complex series of folded steel beams that also support pop up hoods with south-facing lights and perimeter ventilation louvres. The need for continuity in the beam connections required complex detailing and clever fabrication.

Our Civil Group designed the complex series of retaining walls and various hard and soft areas that provide stimulating external spaces.
Our TTW Façade team also provided full design consultancy services, including design development and tender documents, through to construction phase services.

The façade of the library, developed in collaboration with BVN, incorporated ecologically sustainable materials such as timber mullions and cladding and ESD principles such as Low-E performance IGU glazing and natural ventilation. The façade comprised timber rain-screen cladding with conceal-fixed timber battens, glazed window walls, and glazed skylights.

Client: Inner West Council

Architect: BVN, GML Heritage

Builder: CD Construction - Mirvac

Value: $23M

Completion: 2019

Images: CD Commercial Projects

Sector: Government & Public, Art & Culture

Services: Timber, Structural, Civil, Facade


  • 2020 - Timber Design Awards - Overall Winner and Public Buildings Award
  • 2020 - National Trust Heritage Awards - Adaptive Re-use Award
  • 2020 - National Trust Heritage Awards - Education & Interpretation Award
  • 2020 - National Trust Heritage Awards - Judges' Choice Award
  • 2020 - AIA National Award - Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture
  • 2020 - AIA National Award - The David Oppenheim Award
  • 2020 - NSW Architecture Award - The Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture
  • 2020 - NSW Architecture Award - NSW Premier's Prizes
  • 2020 - NSW Architecture Award - We are all in this together Award