Brisbane Girls Grammar School Research Learning Centre

Project Details


Brisbane Girls Grammar School 70 Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill Brisbane , Queensland 4000 Australia

Linda Jones


Willis Lim Photography; Polkadot Photography; Brisbane Girls Grammar School; m3architecture

Project Overview

Brisbane Girls Grammar Schools determination for exceptional scholarship resulted in a building specifically designed to excite the search for knowledge. Using literary precedents, it is a place to lose oneself in five storeys of book-lined rooms, with a 100 year old tree setting the scene.

On their first day at the school, students are read "Imagine a Day ", a picture book by Sarah Thomson. A quote from the last page reads "Imagine a day when a book swings open on silent hinges and a place you 've never seen before welcomes you home ", and with it, an image of a library where books become doorways to other worlds, bookshelves become balconies, small things become big things in a space of complexity and delight. There was also the recollection of an imaginary place called the "cemetery for forgotten books " in "The Shadow of the Wind " by Carlos Ruiz Zaffon. "A labyrinth of passageways and crammed bookshelves rose from base to pinnacle like a beehive, woven with tunnels, steps, platforms, and bridges that presaged an immense library of seemingly impossible geometry ". The project combines the tenderness of the former with the excitement of the latter.

The site contains a Moreton Bay Fig over 100 years old. It is part of the foundational planting of the school and Brisbane more broadly, and the relationship between the new building and the tree was to be critical.

These parameters coalesced to form a unique library typology. A five bay long, five storey high building with north south orientation frames the tree, with a curtain wall fa çade that reflects the tree and offers an experience of the tree from the interior. The book collection rooms are two storey volumes, with sweeping stairs that connect the floor levels. There are six book collection rooms, set at split levels to each other, with books that line the walls. The height and length of the building frames the tree, and It is possible to pass through the five storeys of light filled vertical labrynth using it as a navigation device. The prosaic grid of 25 was converted to an interconnected spatial matrix with less than 8% floor loss. GLA 's and an FLA are interspersed amongst the book collection rooms.

Importantly, the schools determination for exceptional scholarship resulted in a building specifically designed to excite the search for knowledge.

This page last updated: Tuesday 26 May 2015

2015 Category 2 New Construction Major Facility