The story of the library with a garden

Two architects in their 20s have beaten a field of experienced international rivals to design a major new public space in Sydney. Their design has a "community living room" theme.

Felicity Stewart, 29, and Matthias Hollenstein, 28, of the firm Stewart Hollenstein, won the right to design a $40 million library and plaza at Green Square, on the southern edge of the city centre.

The below-ground vision will include garden storytelling, rolling hills and a sunken garden for reading and relaxing. It features an amphitheatre, water play area and music rooms where residents can practise on their instruments without disturbing neighbours.

The space will host impromptu concerts, as well as movies and festivals.

City of Sydney mayor Clover Moore announced the winning entry.

The design was devised in conjunction with Ms Stewart's father, Colin Stewart, an established architect. A jury member, renowned architect Glenn Murcutt, described the design as "brilliant".

"You have got dynamite, it's fantastic ... It has the potential to be one of the most exciting places to be in Sydney," he said.

Ms Stewart said she was "absolutely thrilled" to win. "The nicest part is that this is a concept we are absolutely passionate about because it puts people above everything," she said.

The library will form the centrepiece of the Green Square town centre and serve the suburbs of Rosebery, Zetland, Beaconsfield, Waterloo and Alexandria.

The $8 billion Green Square project is Australia's largest urban development, and is expected to be home to 40,000 residents. The council had asked for a "beautiful, functional and sustainable design" for the library and community centre that would attract visitors for a range of cultural activities.

The competition attracted 167 entries from 29 countries.

The story The story of the library with a garden first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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