St. Kilda Library
150 Carlisle Street, St. Kilda 3182.
- Built in 1971-3.
- Designed by Enrico Taglietti.
- Not listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Dr. Enrico Taglietti was the master of Brutalist architecture in Australia and one of his bolder examples of the style is in the St. Kilda municipal library.
Constructed primarily from off-form raw concrete and concrete brick, this building is dominated by a deep wooden fascia and stained-timber eaves and a large "skirt" close to the ground. Parallels can be made with Taglietti's later Australian War Memorial Annex in the Canberra suburb of Mitchell, where the style was taken to its utmost extreme.
The St. Kilda library is a bold and confronting building with heavy features and harsh surfaces, but is a remarkably successful example of the Brutalist style applied to a public building.
Internally, the stained timber eaves are continued inside where the entire ceiling is composed of the same material. Clerestory windows provide a visual link with the outside and therefore a sense of continuation. The wooden ceiling is broken by massive wooden-framed fluorescent light fixtures that are designed to provide plenty of light as well as visually dominate the interior.
In classic Taglietti style, the building has an 'enclosed' feel about it, and therefore the building has only a few large floor-to-ceiling windows that pierce its façade and give outsiders just a glimpse of what lies within the 'fortress'. The heavy concrete brick walls envelop the occupants of the building in combination with two enclosed courtyards that can only be accessed from within the library building.
The St. Kilda Library cost $417,000 to construct in 1971 and remains largely intact.
The "book" extension was made to the building in 1994 and resulted in the removal of some of Taglietti's external walls and the destruction of his original entrance.