St Kilda Library
Propped up to be read from
1971-73 library is a deceptively large building, it covers almost 50 metres
No other building in
Taglietti was born in
The story of a library for St Kilda goes back 110 years earlier. In 1860, a public meeting was held to consider a suggestion that the St Kilda Council contribute £100 toward purchase of books for the Mechanics’ Institute and £500 towards construction of a free public library and Mechanics’ Institute building. By 1863 the library was actually operating in the old Town Hall, corner Barkly and Acland Streets (now demolished). It held 500 books. Subscribers paid a £1 annual fee.
By 1910, however, the library was in decline and after transferring to the present Town Hall, closed down. In 1953, a committee was again formed to float the idea of a free lending library for St Kilda. This was opposed by the Council due to cost and duplication of various private lending libraries locally.
In 1967, the idea of a library for St Kilda was revived, and it became a hot election issue, closely fought. Eventually, council resolved to reserve an inadequate $50,000 for the building. The late Vida Horn was the first librarian and a force behind the opening of the library. In December 1971 a tender of $417,000 was accepted to construct Dr Taglietti’s design. The new library was opened by the Victorian Governor in May 1973.
St Kilda Library, 2002
In 1994, Ashton Raggatt
McDougall’s (ARM) design for a major addition to the
library was under construction, simultaneously with their major addition and
reconstruction of the Town Hall complex across
Stephen Ashton and Howard
Raggatt studied architecture at the
At St Kilda Library, facing the Town Hall plaza, ARM’s design is façaded by its stone-clad book, which confronts the Town Hall plaza, reinforcing the traditional bookish role of libraries everywhere. Yet paradoxically, the pages of the book are penetrated by an S-profiled window, like a warped computer monitor screen. It is as if the electronic technology is emerging from the printed page. The sinuous S-curved plan form is as dynamic as a façade design by Francesco Borromini (1599-1667), one of the greatest Roman Baroque architects. .
A graphics tower confronts the
Architect. Vol 3. No 27 July-August 1973. pp12-15.
Architect. Vol 3. No 28 September-October 1973. p25.
Architectural drawings for St Kilda Library. Sheets 1-3, dated 22.10.1971. Held: Peter Schenkel.
Butler. The History of St Kilda from its First
Settlement to a City and After. 1840-1930.
St Kilda City Council.
Executive Editor. Aardvark.
A Guide to Contemporary
von Hartell, Trethowan.
Hansen Associates. City of