Digital Tower for The State Library of Victoria

October 27, 2011
by Paul Sparks

The State Library of Victoria is one of Melbourne's pre-eminent cultural institutions. With over 1.5 million visitors annually, the library has increased in size and usage and has benefited from the integration of new technologies and the recent refurbishment of the world renowned dome and Redmond Barry Reading Room.

Underlining its core principle, “Information. Ideas. Inspiration. For Everyone.,” Harkess-Ord was briefed to develop a future facing digital tower that embodies the values, heritage and architecture, to welcome visitors and serve as an information gateway to discover what the library has to offer.

To comply with architectural restrictions and working with original concepts from Arium Design, Harkess-Ord developed a freestanding tower to wrap around a heritage listed column at the center of the main octagon information room. This is the main collection zone for people entering the library and the tower provides an engaging focal point for visitors, reminding and informing them of the content and events taking place within the library.

Numerous technical and design considerations were set by the client, including the need to be geometrical and symmetrical in form, as well as the integration of portrait LCD screens with multiple viewing angles. Beyond this, the tower was required to house all media hardware with full electrical access and the ability to allow future technical upgrades. To integrate within its environment, perforated metal was the preferred material, presenting the potential for artistic exploration. Finally, an illuminated visual crown was required through a creative use of light.

The final solution is a digital tower which successfully integrates the artistic design with technology, complementing the architectural setting and providing enhanced visitor navigation, information sourcing and orientation at the library’s heart.