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Williamstown Library

Architect: Sally Draper Architects and Mitsuori Architects, 2012

The design of the Williamstown Library is based on an understanding of Williamstown as a unique place within Melbourne characterised by a strong sense of identity and community.


Sally Draper Architects is one of Melbourne’s most respected design practices. It has a strong heritage and has produced a substantial body of residential, institutional and urban design work.

Mitsuori Architects is a design led practice founded by Melissa Lim & Matthew Murfett.  Their directors have worked for world renowned architectural practices on major cultural, commercial, boutique residential and interior design projects in Australia, UK, Europe and the USA.


The Williamstown Citizens Theatre was opened on this site 100 years ago in February 1912. Later known as the Shore Theatre it was demolished in 1964 to make way for a new library and Municipal Offices. Prior use of the site from the 1860’s to the start of the 20th century was as a Chinese market garden and laundry.

The 2012 redevelopment comprises two distinct elements. The first is a double height reading room featuring a translucent polycarbonate wall supported on slender composite steel and timber ‘ribs’ . This ethereal element is counter posed by a linear bluestone spine which anchors the building and protects the soft reading room from the noise and chaos of an adjacent retail car park. The bluestone spine houses the library’s exhibition area, ancillary spaces, meeting rooms and offices.

Sustainable design principles such as a large rainwater storage tank, sub-floor ventilation labyrinth, high level roof ventilators and automated windows are incorporated into the architecture to maximise natural ventilation, passive solar performance and minimise energy and water consumption.

Photos: Trevor Mein

COST: $8.1 million

FACT ONE: Ironbark beams used to support the sail-like shell of the western wall reflect the maritime heritage of the area

FACT TWO: Bronze ceramic tiles, designed and executed by Sydney artist Gerard Haveks, were preserved from the 1968 library and municipal offices.

FACT THREE: Earlier drafts of the design were revised in order to retain the much-loved trees on site – the Jacaranda (north) and the Golden Elm (south), which was planted by the Town Hall Keeper’s children for Mother’s Day 1958.



Who Lived in My House

This video will point you in the right direction to uncover the history of your house, from finding historic maps and plans, to discovering the names and stories of the people who lived in your home.


Stay-at-home Storytime

Storytime encourages imagination, socialisation and a life-long love of books and libraries, while preparing preschool-aged children and their carers for the routines of kinder and school. You can watch Hobsons Bay’s librarians for an ‘iso-edition’ of Storytime each Tuesday and Thursday at 10.30am.

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