Cesspit of an Empire

under supervision of Melanie Dodd at RMIT University

The project attempts to capture the negotiation between the everyday moments which underline our lives and the dramatic events which define our history. The building aims to consider time and history, and stories of place.

Hobart has had a turbulent history, with morbid and dark moments. The proposed building is a library in Bellerive to accommodate the heritage collection and national archives of the State Library. As an evolving typology, the contemporary library seems less concerned with the physical storage of books, than the conditions of information and interactivity. Set in juxtaposition to this trend, the project attempts to negotiate both the formality of the ‘collection’ contained within historic archives, spaces and rooms, but also everyday reality, use, and experience of the space.

These divergent scales are manifested through the context of the site: the urban waterfront location on the Derwent River versus the small and suburban scales and building typologies of Bellerive. The plan and form of the project serve to acknowledge this contrast through a recognition that the stories that matter to Hobartians - the everyday - are celebrated spatially. Opportunities exist to observe the relationships between the solitude of the individual and the interactivity of groups, the public and the seemingly private, inside and out, silence and noise, what is exhibited versus what is stored, what is old and what is new, and the user and the object. This gives the library-goer the opportunity to reflect on the past whilst also projecting new futures.

Perspective view of proposed library from Cambridge Rd Axonometric section of reading room Perspective view of reading room interior Perspective view of cafe Perspective view from promenade Perspective view of book collection

Ground floor plan