State Library of Queensland

Redevelopment of the State Library in the Cultural Precinct on Brisbane's Southbank. Completed in 2006.

Winning the international design competition with Donovan Hill architects in 2000, the project became the reinvention and transformation of the State Library of Queensland. Now more than twice its original size, the project added 12,000 sqm of new space and redeveloped 10,000 sqm of the existing building. The Library has undergone huge cultural change both physically and in terms of service provision as part of the project and Queensland’s ‘Smart State’ policy. The Library as an institution has transformed from a collection-centric facility focused on archive repository to an vibrant, interactive people-place.

The briefing and design process spanned a large and complex client group incorporating community and indigenous consultation. The Library itself has over 1,000 differing rooms and delivers 50 service programs simultaneously. Appropriately it is an institution subject to constant change. As the building collects differing staff groups on a single site for the first time, the architectural team led this organisational restructuring and subsequent change management.

Mark Floate working directly with both the architectural team and librarians coordinated the restructuring the whole of library operations and optimising collection management and it’s accessibility. By integrating this operational re-structuring with intensive and highly detailed re-planning we created varied and multi-layered spaces where people can interact with the vast collections in numerous different ways, whether at large vibrant events or in quiet and solitary contemplation.

This process always sought to seamlessly integrate people with the collections, the varied operations with a richness of space, the architectural form with interior function and a continuous link between with the micro and the macro – the nature of personal space within the public domain. The library as a building type is an exploration of the true nature of a democratic society; a truly public building.

In addition to reconfiguring and expanding existing facilities, the building contains a broad array of new specialist components including: an Indigenous Knowledge Centre, climate controlled repositories, 300 seat auditorium, international standard exhibition gallery, cafés, business/conference centre and an informal peoples gallery. The major new public reading rooms along the river’s edge deliver an outstanding public venue with views to the Brisbane city centre.

Uniquely, at completion of the architectural commission, Mark Floate then worked as a consultant to the State Librarian for 12 months, assisting and coordinating the subsequent relocation, operational transitioning and occupation of library staff and collections up to the grand public opening in 2005.




– 2007 RAIA National Architecture Awards – The Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture
– 2007 RAIA National Architecture Awards – The Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture
– 2007 RAIA Queensland Architecture Awards – Brisbane Building of the Year
– 2007 RAIA Queensland Architecture Awards – FDG Stanley Award for Public Buildings Architecture
– 2007 AIB Queensland Awards – Project of the Year + Sustainability Commendation