Surry Hills Library and Community Centre by Francis-Jones Moreham Thorp (FJMT) won a National Award for Public Architecture at the AIA's 2010 National Architecture Awards.
Located on a busy inner-city street front, the Surry Hills Library cleverly accommodates a variety of functions with relative ease and remarkable spatial accuracy. Planning is driven ‘off the back’ of an innovative glazed thermal green wall. The building employs this southern facade to provide soft light and aspect over a small formalized park on all above-ground levels
Planning is unpredictable. The library is located on basement and ground level, making it easily accessible to the public, and community services and childcare are on the upper levels. A laneway adjacent to adjoining shops provides vertical access and, along with the spiral library stair, creates spatial zones that both link and contrast the horizontal work environments.
There is conspicuous refinement in both planning strategies and detail. Junctions, alignments and set-outs communicate a high level of coordination and, in general, the selection of materials confirms that approach. This building could be likened to a refined machine, and the bespoke sun control louvre system to the street and park beyond contributes another layer of integrated technology to the workings of the building. The Surry Hills Library exhibits planning and facade detail that limits waste and touches beauty through the resolution of clearly defined strategies.
– Jury citation