Umow Lai has been appointed as part of project team to provide their expert sustainability design services for the new $40 million Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.

Patrick Elliott, a director of the South Yarra-based engineering and sustainability consultancy said: “Umow Lai is delighted to be associated with this project, particularly because it is so important to the City of Greater Geelong.

“It also provides a great opportunity for the firm to continue our relationship with architects ARM whom we previously worked with on the acclaimed Melbourne Theatre Company and Melbourne Recital Hall projects.”

The new facility will be sympathetic to its Cultural Precinct location on Johnstone Park and will be built on the site of the existing library and incorporate the nearby Heritage Centre. The Precinct includes the Peace Memorial, Art Gallery and City Hall; the Courthouse and Geelong Performing Arts Centre are located across Little Malop Street.

Patrick said that as well as being sympathetic to the Cultural Precinct, the Library and Heritage Centre is aiming to set a benchmark for a facility of its type, providing communications, information and lifelong learning.

The new, multi-storey 5,000 square meter building is the biggest project ever undertaken by the Geelong City Council. As well as housing a modern, state of the art library and heritage centre, it will also include a café.

Sustainability is a strong focus. The project has aspirations for a 5 Star rating using the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) Green Star Public Buildings rating tool. The tool, scheduled to be released later in the year, will guide the design for sustainable outcomes with regards to energy and water efficiency, indoor environment quality, materials selection and management initiatives to ensure ongoing optimal operation.

A key focus area of Umow Lai’s services is the optimisation of the façade performance. This will provide excellent daylight levels to minimise artificial lighting energy consumption and at the same time manage solar radiation to reduce cooling energy consumption. Patrick Elliott said that where possible, he will explore the use of mixed-mode ventilation strategies to utilise Geelong’s temperate coastal climate, thus further reducing the need for cooling.

The Library and Heritage redevelopment is being funded by the City of Greater Geelong along with the State and Federal Governments. Works are due to commence on site mid 2013 with completion in September 2015.


Project team member Umow Lai has an impressive track record in providing high quality, sustainable design services.

The firm worked on Pixel, the highest rated sustainable building in the world; the Dandenong Government Services Offices, winner of the 2012 Victorian Architecture Awards Commercial Architecture Award and is currently engaged on 171 Collins Street, the first premium grade building to be awarded a 6 Green Star – Office Design (v2) Certificate from the Green Building Council of Australia.