Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing + Ideas 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC
role Architecture, Interior Design value $3 million area 1,975m² completion date Early 2010 client Arts Victoria
In August 2008, Melbourne was officially awarded the title of the second UNESCO International City of Literature. A key component of that bid was the development of a literature 'hub' designed by peckvonhartel - the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing + Ideas.
Located in the south-west wing of the State Library of Victoria, the Wheeler Centre houses office accommodation and support infrastructure for key literary organisations - the Victorian Writers' Centre, Melbourne Writers' Festival, Australian Poetry Centre, Express Media, SPUNC and the Emerging Writers' Festival, and performance and multipurpose spaces to support event and festival programming for the broader literary community.
Boasting a prominent street address on Swanston and Little Lonsdale Streets, the new Centre is identified by glowing companion elements along the Little Lonsdale Street frontage. The design by peckvonhartel features a glazed light beacon and an ethereal street canopy that unmistakably distinguishes the Centre, and frame its contemporary around-the-clock activities behind the premier heritage facade. Internal spaces provide flexible accommodation use to foster collaborative literary enterprise, promote public access to specialty libraries and event programming, and to support the ongoing and distinctive contribution of each of the key stakeholder organisations.
The Centre is a long-term commitment to literary development and endeavour in Victoria.