Surry Hills Library and Community Centre

Surry Hills Library and Community Centre by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp won the National Award for Sustainable Architecture at the AIA's 2010 National Architecture Awards.

The initiatives integrated into this project, along with the support of client Sydney City Council, have enabled it to develop and test ideas that may well inform future sustainable principles.

This building derives significant architectural character as a direct result of air, light and sun management.

The beautiful glazed wall to the south draws air across a green garden on the roof down into a labyrinth where temperatures are managed. A geothermal heat exchanger provides an additional control device and the placement of “green” bio-filter gardens at ground level absorbs CO2 and releases O2, acting as passive filtration to the controlled air environment. This system is an initiative of the architects and represents an intelligent move to better refresh air within a closed commercial office space. Results to date indicate higher oxygen levels along with more active work environments.

The architects have also used the southern thermal wall as a facade of light. Along with the automated vertical louvre system on the east and the skylight on the upper level, this significantly reduces demand for artificial light.

Photovoltaic panels, low-VOC finishes, rainwater storage tanks and the assisted management of temperatures using carefully located thermal mass all add to the extent that this project has considered its sustainable responsibilities as a community exemplar.

The Surry Hills Library establishes new systems and refines existing ones. It is a contemporary expression of the alignment between architecture and environmental management.

– Jury citation


Project Team
Richard Francis-Jones, Jeff Morehen, Simon Barr, Lance White, Alison Jones, Misha De Moyer, James Perry, Josephine Turner, Peter Wise, Matthew Todd, Mark Brandon, Chris Thomas, Michael Harvey, Elizabeth Sandoval, Jason Green, Andrew Stanton,
Acoustic consultant Acoustic Studio
Audiovisual consultant Noisebox Entertainment Systems
Builder ProBuild
Code consultant Davis Langdon
Design management City of Sydney
ESD, mechanical, electrical and fire Steensen Varming
Fire engineering Arup Sydney
Hydraulic consultant Warren Smith & Partners
Landscape architects fjmt
Project management City of Sydney
Quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall Sydney
Signage consultant Collider
Structural consultant Taylor Thomson Whitting
Site Details
Location 405 Crown Street,  Surry Hills,  Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Site type Suburban
Project Details
Status Built
Category Education, Public / commercial
Type Public / civic


Awarded Project

Published online: 1 Jul 2011
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2010
Images: John Gollings


Architecture Australia, November 2010

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