Sydney Square Design Winner Redefines Traditional Library

Sydney Square Design Winner Redefines Traditional Library
View looking west across the plaza from the sunlounges
(City of Sydney)

Sydney-based architects Felicity Stewart and Matthias Hollenstein of Stewart Hollenstein have won a hotly contested competition to design a new library and plaza for Sydney’s Green Square Town Centre.

The competition received over 160 submissions from around the world by architects and designers who were inspired by the chance to shape a new town centre in Sydney and the idea that libraries are increasingly becoming our “urban living rooms” – places for exploration, creativity and connection.


The winning Stewart Hollenstein design redefines the traditional idea of a library, fusing a range of innovative buildings with the outdoor plaza to create multiple sites for play, work, and rest. Some of the buildings are below ground while bookshelves sit outdoors in the plaza. The design includes an amphitheatre, a storytelling garden, water play zone and wide open spaces for festivals.

According to the Jury Chair, John Denton, “The Jury was most excited by this scheme and convinced by the potential it held for the new Library and the Plaza at Green Square. It was the only scheme to challenge the notion of placing a building in the Plaza, managing to put forward a strong argument for placing the Plaza over the Library, thereby providing both a building and a suitably scaled urban plaza for the future developments around the site, becoming a beacon and an oasis for the whole Green Square community.”

Green Square is an $8 billion development project near Sydney’s international gateways of Port Botany and Sydney Airport. At the heart of Green Square is 14 hectares of land to be developed as the Green Square Town Centre. The Town Centre is planned around a new public plaza and civic building - the Green Square Library.

Stewart Hollenstein will now work with the City of Sydney to refine the design and plan for construction in 2017.

Hear from the competition jury on why they chose the winning design in the video below