Sydney architecture firm Studio Hollenstein has been appointed as the designer for the redeveloped Ballarat Library, with local companies planned to contribute.
Studio Hollenstein was selected for the project a second time after the project's budget increased from $2.4 million to just under $7 million in April, requiring another tender process.
The firm has previous expertise in this particular field, having designed libraries in Broken Hill, Green Square, Fairfield, Strathfield and even Bulgaria.
Studio Hollenstein was also selected for the previous tender 12 months ago, causing some backlash from Ballarat architects as to why a local business was not appointed.
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However, the firm now plans to use Ballarat architect Nathan Porter, of Porter Architects, and engineering firm Cardno TGM as consultants.
City of Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney said while council should be directing as much work as possible to Ballarat-based businesses, with no local bidders this time around, this tender was awarded to the applicant with the most expertise.
"Getting experience in the various specifics of designing libraries of the future, I think, is a very specialist skill and to be able to help impart some of that knowledge locally through subcontractors is an excellent benefit," he said.
"Hopefully, local providers can also use that experience and that work to go on and bid for projects, not only future projects here, but around the state, around the country as well because they can take that local example and working with a big Sydney firm as a good demonstration of what they're capable of doing."
Cr Moloney said the library would be reoriented as part of the project to better interact with the neighbouring Civic Hall and GovHub.
"The reorientation of the library, I think, is a pretty important point too so that it integrates with GovHub and Civic Hall, too," he said.
"Imagine a future GovHub with lots of employees there, lots of shows and performances at Civic Hall, and those three buildings working in well together, all facing out to each other."
Council said the project's budget was increased by $4.59 million in order to include significant works to upgrade the library's mechanical equipment, electrical systems, fire systems and lift, and also complete a roof replacement.
Studio Hollenstein director Matthias Hollenstein said local involvement, like local materials, was important in any project.
"Given COVID as well, it's even more important to leverage local knowledge and resources. It just made sense from all sorts of points of view," he said.
"It's just elevating the library in terms of what it offers the community, just to expand to a wider range of offerings and creating a modern community meeting space."
Mr Hollenstein said the knowledge sharing went two ways.
"I think we'll also learn a lot from working with Nathan Porter and the team at Cardno TGM. Every project is a learning experience and we're really excited to bring our knowledge and expertise to Ballarat," he said.
"It's a beautiful city. Pre-lockdown, I was down there and it's a fantastic place with immense history and a really active community and we're really honoured to be able to contribute our knowledge and expertise to Ballarat."
Works are estimated to take place throughout 2022 with the newly refurbished library expected to be completed in 2023.
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