Other councils across Sydney are undertaking redevelopment and upgrade of civic centres to ensure the services they provide can be accommodated in the future.

A series of portfolios have been created here on recent Civic Centre redevelopments including:

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Surry Hills Library and Community Centre


This public building located in Surry Hills is a recent development by the City of Sydney Council providing community services including a new library, community centre, and childcare centre.

The internal design allows for spaces to be multi-functional allowing for reading, studying, common shared areas and social activities.

The raised grassed area with a centrally located tree helps to create a courtyard impression which can be enjoyed by the users of the building.

The building is located along a busy street. Across is a small but popularly used park which is used as a skate park; various play equipment and seating facilities. The community building is also surrounded by numerous cafes, restaurants and local grocers.

The building has been designed using environmentally sustainable design (ESD) principles. See how the designer has cleverly designed the building to be modern and eye-catching whilst incorporating environmentally sustainable design and engineering principles. The ESD driven approach is linked to the City of Sydney Council’s Sustainable City 2030 Vision which is similar to Mosman Council’s MOSPLAN 2050 Vision.
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The Concourse – Chatswood


The Concourse is a recent development undertaken by Willoughby Council in Chatswood. This new Concourse, previously home to the old brown brick Civic building has been transformed into a new centre for culture and entertainment.

The community services and uses include: 

  • Library
  • Concert Hall
  • Box office and theatre venues
  • Civic Pavilion
  • Venue Hire facilities
  • Communal plaza space
Public and Venue Hire Facilities include: 

  • Concert Hall
  • Civic Pavilion
  • Theatre
  • Studio Space
  • Green Room
  • Orchestra Room
  • Chorus Room
  • The Lounge
  • Art Space

Refer to the link for more details: http://www.theconcourse.com.au/hire-a-venue

There are also restaurants and cafes located on the site that contribute to the active character of the Concourse.

Analysing the Design

Incorporating environmentally sustainable design

The Concourse has been designed with an environmentally sensitive approach allowing for sustainable transport options, on-site water retention and re-use with the provision of a stormwater tank under the civic pavilion space, an atrium style designed library and use of environmentally friendly building materials. The Sustainability tour of the Concourse video explains the sustainable design elements of the development.

Creating community atmosphere

The design of the open space area includes the Urban Screen which provides the community the opportunity to view special events, arts and theatrical items, celebrate festivals and more in a communal environment.

Located centrally in the communal plaza is the raised grass area providing outdoor communal space for the public to enjoy whether it be basking in the sun, eating lunch or just talking to friends.

Inspiration through public art

The Concourse cleverly incorporates an atrium entwined with public art work of a wishing well called Visiting Enki by Wendy Mills 2010. The incorporation of this art work and the story which it portrays relates to the redevelopment works undertaken by Willoughby Council to revitalise the old and tired-looking civic centre into a modern and culturally inspired public arena for all to enjoy.

The artwork and atrium incorporated design of the library creates interest for users from inside the building allowing views to be captured whilst reading, studying, relaxing on bean bags or talking with friends.

Funding of the works

The redevelopment of the site was funded wholly by the Council.
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Ashfield Civic Centre


Ashfield Council is currently in the process of redeveloping its Administration Building and Civic Centre building at Liverpool Road. View the artist’s impressions.

The development has been phased into three stages of which stages 1 and 2 and include:

  • New art library
  • New community meeting rooms
  • New and refurbished staff offices
  • Outdoor plaza and forecourt area extending from Liverpool Road

Stage 3 of the development which is yet to be completed includes:

  • Upgrade of the Town Hall into a theatre and activity space
  • Youth resource facility
  • Early childhood health and family hub with consulting rooms
  • Community amenities facilities

The plans, specifications and reports for the redevelopment works can be viewed online. This brochure provides a summary.

Funding of the works

The redevelopment works are being funded under a special purpose loan.
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Mona Vale Civic Centre


The new Civic Centre by Pittwater Council at Village Park provides a new Civic Centre and administration centre for the Council.

The design includes:

  • The refurbishment of the old library into a customer service area and new library constructed underground with an atrium providing natural light
  • Outdoor cafe
  • Parkland ampitheatre
  • Pedestrian link between the two village areas
  • Council offices

The project has received a Commendation in the Civic and ESD categories of the Australian Institute of Architects Awards.

Images and details on the project can also be viewed online.
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