Toowong Library

Site Overview

site name:
Toowong Library
variant or former name:
Toowong Municipal Library
James Birrell
date of commission:
date of completion:
579 – 583 Coronation Drive, Toowong, Queensland
Education (EDC)
protection status:
State Heritage Listed. Queensland Heritage Register 602011. Date Entered 28 August 1998
editor fiche:
Tamarind Taylor, 2021
download fiche:


“Modest in scale, Toowong Library departed from “standard and stereotyped” forms
of library architecture. Adopting a polygonal form, the external walls were cantered
outwards (to enhance access to the bookcases which lined the walls) and a central
oculus anchored the steel beams that gave tension to the exterior walls. Sheltered by
an amber plastic dome, the oculus also provided ventilation and lit the lending desk
below. Public reaction to the library’s unconventional appearance was mixed. It was
described in the press as both “aesthetically pleasing” and a “monstrosity.” The
plastic dome attracted particular attention. Labelled by some as a “crowning
monstrosity”— resembling the “cherry on top of a Christmas cake”—it was
appreciated by others as adding to the “beauty of the circular, dark, wooden panelled
building.” A final faction declared they “didn’t mind what the building looked like, as
long as they have a library.”” (Digital Archive of Queensland Architecture,)