Surry Hills Library and Community Centre

Surry Hills Library and Community Centre

City facilities

Follow these links to find out more about the Surry Hills Library or Surry Hills Community Centre.

Community centre

Trophy-winning facility in Surry Hills

Surry Hills Library and Community Centre has set new benchmarks in sustainable public buildings and provides a diverse range of services to this the dynamic community of Surry Hills and surrounds.

The first Surry Hills library and community facility built in 1956, was a small and modest building.

Since then, the community of Surry Hills has continuously changed. Different cultural groups and business sectors have ebbed and flowed in the area.

The need for a new community facility was recognised in 2004. This City viewed this as an opportunity to deliver a new facility that was iconic and reached high level sustainability and design standards. In 2005 architects FJMT, headed by Richard Francis-Jones were awarded the project.

Community consultation contributed to the design concepts, and in 2007 the old community centre was demolished to make way for an innovative hybrid building containing a new library, community centre and childcare facility.

Designed for sustainability

The Surry Hills Library and Community Centre has been designed to achieve excellence in sustainable design and set new benchmarks in environmental performance for multi-purpose public buildings.

Growing our own fresh air

The building has a unique air quality system using natural filtering properties of plants. Air is naturally cooled under the building, reducing the need for artificial cooling by some 50%.

The process works like this:

  • Air is drawn in at the top of the atrium
  • The air passes through special plants acting as ‘passive’ filters
  • Air then flows under the building where its temperature is conditioned by a thermal labyrinth, a series of high thermal-mass rock baskets
  • From here, the filtered and cooled air flows throughout the different levels of the building.

Saving energy

Design features to achieve significant savings in energy usage:

  • High levels of natural lighting throughout the building and daylight controlled light fixtures
  • Large louvre façade which moves and ‘tracks’ the sun to control internal glare and heat levels
  • Natural grasses on the roof to reduce energy loss
  • Movement controlled lighting for public and work spaces
  • Solar roof panels to provide supplementary power to the building.

Water conservation

Rainwater will be collected, treated and re-used for the flushing of toilets and irrigation, watering the atrium plants and Collins Street Reserve lawn.

This will save over 620,000L of water.

All tap fixtures are touch sensitive and plant equipment will be air-cooled not water-cooled.

Sustainable building materials

Building materials have been selected for their durability and sustainability:

  • A post-tensioning structural system that reduces the quantity of concrete required for structural framing
  • Use of alternative materials to PVC for plumbing and electrical services
  • Finishes that contain low levels of products which harm the environment such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Timber products sourced from sustainable forests.


For community centre enquiries, please contact:

02 9356 4977

For library enquiries, please contact:

02 8374 6230

Last updated: Monday, 1 February 2016