Melville Civic Square Library refurbishment is a great example of how a low-cost and short-term refurbishment can be achieved in a sustainable way, invigorating public services and maximising the use of resources, old and new.

Akin to the concept of a pop up, the design and all interior elements can be removed and relocated to other premises in the impending 2016 relocation.

The brief called for modern, zoned spaces that could offer both quiet and vibrant areas for flexible delivery of programs and services. Increasing people spaces and creating more exposure to underused resources were other key objectives.

Abortive work and waste of all types were minimised, while budget constraints meant the architects could not afford to fully demolish an opening that was essential for the integration of the underused Anne Reid Room and Newspaper areas. As a result, a concrete column has been placed in the centre of a passage.

Recyclable building practices implemented include the reuse of most of the shelving that was double sided. Some seating were also re-upholstered, doors and other building materials were reused and relocated where possible, while the architects requested that the existing carpet be packed for retrieval as part of a ‘re-entry’ program for Interface, where they take old carpets and use it as a raw material.

Key initiatives:


  • Sustainable products and suppliers
  • All removable fixtures and fittings including carpet tiles
  • Reuse and refurbishment of existing furniture
  • Rationalised use of staff time/ expertise and resources
  • Streamlined processes and created new exposure to existing collections increasing lending/ use of materials

Photography by Gosia Sak, Jenny Lai and Cecilia Kugler