Durban, South Africa

New Durban Library Night & Day

Urban Placemaking for 21st Century Durban

The New Durban Central City Library Competition brought together a unique vision by the Hlanganani Consortium for a new library hybrid: conjoining buzzing retail and entertainment with more traditional, quiet spaces of learning, in an iconic green building that is essentially Durban.

The eThekwini Municipality viewed the project as crucial to the regeneration of the city centre, instrumental in catalysing inner city life, urban activation and development.


The library itself was envisaged as providing accessibility to a state-of-the-art multi-purpose knowledge centre, complete with cutting edge services and equipment housed within an ecologically driven proposal based on passive thermal control and sustainable technologies.

Anchoring the consortium’s approach was that built form and surrounding urban realm will become the very heart of eThekwini, where our multi-cultural community will meet to share a collective heritage; whether it be art, science, craft, music, stories, faith, language or histories.

The masterplan includes a public park, natural history museum, planetarium, station, transit authority offices, and mixed-use housing.

The urban design locates the library within Durban's known skyline of towers.

The Library's BIOLOGIA presents a bucolic indoor/outdoor interface to the park.

Contemporary library design by SOUNDSPACEDESIGN Architects Sydney

The Library's ground floor plane is a permeable public space that ties into the broader cultural precinct of its immediate context.

The Library's eastern facade features a giant green wall that blends the building into the more passive landscape of the park.

The Library's western facade features a giant video wall that communicates events and public outreach.

Contemporary library design by SOUNDSPACEDESIGN Architects Sydney
Contemporary library design by SOUNDSPACEDESIGN Architects Sydney

The reading room features a mixed-mode air-conditioning system with return air being filtered though planted "BIO-TRUNKS"

An information hub for everyone – nurtured by many people,

A cultural resource, celebrated high and low,

Holistically eThekwini, Africa’s beacon of sustainability,

A haven of inclusivity, growing ever richer, forever.

With and on behalf of the Hlanganani Consortium:

Soundspacedesign T/A Don Albert & Partners - Urban Design & Concept Architects

Sakhisizwe Architects - Joint Architects

Architecture Fabrik - Joint Architects

PGA Architects - Joint Architects

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 ABN 23627800926  ARBNSW 10266 Nominee Architect Gerald Don Albert 

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