The building is a reflection of the next level of maturity in environmentally responsible design

The Surry Hills Library was commissioned by the City of Sydney Council. It contains a library, community centre and childcare centre. It has a basement, ground floor, first and second floor. The Surry Hills Library and Community Centre is unique in its design philosophy, combining beauty and functionalism without highlighting and exposing the environmental initiatives -they are intrinsic and multifunctional within the very fabric of the building. In this way, the building reflects the next level of maturity in environmentally responsible design.

The project includes significant rainwater harvesting, storage, treatment and re-use systems with air-cooled plant and water-efficient environmental control systems to significantly reduce water use; potentially saving 680,000L of water per year.

The main structure is a prestressed concrete structure. The mainframe is not exposed, except for the off-form concrete columns. The building is clad externally, with mainly operable louvres and precast panels for the southern wall.

The major structural aspect of the project is the glass Façade which acts as an air duct. The building has a unique spiral stair which adds architectural elegance to the internal design.

Client: City of Sydney

Architect: FJMT

Builder: Probuild

Value: $20M

Completion: 2009

Sector: Government & Public, Art & Culture

Services: TTW Advance, Structural, Civil, Facade


  • 2010 – AIA National Awards: National award for public architecture
  • 2010 – AIA National Awards: National award for sustainable architecture
  • 2010 – BPN Awards for Public Building and Urban Design
  • 2010 – AIA NSW Chapter: John Verge Award Interior Architecture
  • 2010 – AIA NSW Chapter: Milo Dunphy Award – Sustainable Architecture
  • 2010 – AIA NSW Chapter: Public Architecture Award
  • 2009 – AIRAH Awards: AIRAH Award for Excellence In Sustainability
  • 2009 – Banksia Awards: Finalist
  • 2009 – Emilio Ambasz Award Architecture Israel Award for Green Architecture
  • 2009 – Interior Design of Excellence Awards: Highly commended in Institutional category
  • 2009 – NSW Government Environment Climatre Change and Water: Sustainability Green Globe Award
  • 2009 – Timber Development Association: Best Use of Timber Panels – Central Region (Highly Commended)
  • 2009 – Timber Development Association: Public or Commercial Buildings – Central Region (Highly Commended)
  • 2009 – UN World Enviornment Day Award: Finalist
  • 2009 – Urban Development Institute Australia (NSW): Environmental Excellence