Green Square Underground Library

I first heard about Green Square library while watching a documentary on the top 10, 2019 Architectural buildings in Australia. The underground library in Green Square received rave reviews from the judging panel. The unique structure, room space, natural lighting, proximity to station and buses, shops, etc. makes the library an attractive place to visit. As 90% of Green Square’s residents live in apartments, the underground library is an ingenious use of limited space.

Green Square station is along the railway line to Domestic and International airports in Sydney. As I came out of Green Square station, I saw the triangular shaped glass pavilion and walked around it once, viewing the building at various angles, wondering where the library was. Once I entered the building, I realised the pavilion provides the entrance into the underground library. A flight of steps downwards leads to the main library. A circular sunken garden in the centre adds novelty. I walked pass the sunken garden, observing the glass walls, which lets in light. A courteous member of staff asked if she could be of help. Perhaps my wonderings and photo snapping surprised her?

The walls are draped with vertical book shelves with attractive and popular titles. One section has rooms available for group study free of charge for two hours a day, but you have to book it. Records show that there are about 40,000 books in this library. Children are attracted to adorable reading nooks within the bookshelves.

A series of circular skylights on the ground floor, dot the plaza and light the library floor below. The amphitheatre that filled the sunken void at the end of the Library was quiet except for a few people having a discussion in the middle and a little girl who walked up and down the steps countless times clasping her father’s hand tightly.

A separate six-storey glass tower has a double-height reading room, computer lab, music room and bookable community space.

A rainbow colour installation decorates a wall in the library. It’s quite eye-catching, and the picture is on display at a few public places. I scaled the six -storey glass tower and the entire library once and couldn’t find this artwork. Later I bumped into one of the Librarians and asked about it. He smiled at me and said that most of the discarded books have been carefully wrapped in bright colour papers and stacked neatly on shelves in the tower’s reading room. This installation provides the backdrop for the colourful artwork. I retraced my steps and found the tower and captured the bright artwork on one side of the wall. It’s a casual space with armchairs and bean bags and provides a great view of the plaza.  

The Green square library is for the whole community; read, relax and enjoy the peace and harmony of the underground environment both inside and out. It accommodates people of all age groups, from infants to seniors. A dedicated section inside the library is available for small children to read, play and create. Although very young children, accompanied by their parents visit the library, a few hours I spent there I heard no crying.

Architects Stewart Hollenstein with Stewart Architecture won the global design competition for the Library. The land that was once a swamp has been converted into a stunning and functional building, using sophisticated engineering techniques. The glass pavilion on the plaza with a cosy café is prominent and livelier than the six-storey glass tower in the middle, which has only one room at every level. I spent about three hours roaming in and out of the library, scanned through a book by “Deepak Chopra” and finished my day with a cup of “Chai latte” at the Library’s café.  Finally, when I stepped out of the glass pavilion café on the ground floor, I saw a beautiful Christmas tree with colourful, dainty decorations. It looked majestic, bringing the Christmas spirit to all those in the neighbourhood.

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