Fisher Library Heritage Study 2007 – Part 2 Images

2.3 Recent Images of Fisher Library

 

West elevation of Fisher Library from west. West elevation of Fisher Stack from north-west.
Main entrance and porch on west elevation Forecourt in front of main entrance from north

 

Detail of glass opening doors and building name at main entrance. Front porch on west elevation of Fisher Library from south (looking from front forecourt).

 

Fire door to Fisher Stack on west elevation. South elevation of Fisher Stack from south-west.

 

 

North elevation of Fisher Library from north-west. North elevation of Fisher Library from north-east.

 

East elevation from east. South and east elevations of Fisher Library from south-east.
North and east elevations of Fisher Stack from north-east. Typical door to north elevation of Fisher Library Fire door to Fisher Library adjacent to front entrance.
General Enquires desk in main entrance lobby (Room
351/350).
Main entrance lobby (Room 350).

 

Main entrance lobby (Room 350) looking toward
Loans Desk (Room 350A)
Detail of loans desk (Room 351)

 

Staff room (Room 540).
Note original chairs and some table legs.
Staff room (Room 540). Note timber panelling on west wall.

 

Staff dining room (Room 541).
Note original chairs and coffee tables.
Student reading room (Room 100)

 

 

Typical reading desks in Fisher Stack (Room 390). Student reading room (Room 400)

 

Quiet reading rooms on Level 4 (Rooms 402, 404 & 408). Fisher Library Access Centre (Room 200)

 

Void above main entrance lobby. Detail of balustrade to void above main entrance lobby.

 

Photocopy room (Room 255) Level 2 landing to north-west stair (Room 230)

 

Internal wall display cases (Room 375). Rare Book Library exhibition space (Room 219).
Note original light-fittings and fixed display cases.

 

Typical directory board. Typical notice pin board.

 

 

Typical bookshelves in Fisher
Stack (Room 490)
Corridor and partitions in Fisher
Stack (Room 580)
Typical locker room (Room 571).

 

Detail of glass and timber frame to void above main entrance lobby (Level 5). Typical timber panelling (Room 450). Timber grooved paneling (Room 401).

 

Kitchen (Room 542). Kitchen (Room 542). Canteen bench to kitchen (Room 541).
Typical timber panelling and doors
to lavatories.
Typical lift lobby (Room 227). Original telephone booths (Room 301 and 302).

 

 

Detail of Rare Book Library display cases (Room 219). Internal wall display cases and
timber groove panelling (Room
220A).
Typical bookshelves in
undergraduate book collection of
Fisher Library (Room 400).

 

Main Stair West stair in Fisher Stack (Room 160). Original fire door to north-west stair.

 

Typical door handle detail. Original decorative wall tiles and floor level sign. Original light switch.

 

Original book lift. Original door furniture. Decorative light fitting. (Room 540).

 

Timber cabinet for metal flints to be pressed into signs (Room 135). Printing press (Room 135). Typical stool step.
Fixed timber seat from former canteen area (Room 260A). Original timber book sorting trolley.

 

Typical large low timber table (Room 200) Typical card catalogue cabinets (Room 320).

 

Typical metal framed tall desk (Room 990). Metal framed side table (Room 300A)

 

Typical chair ensemble Original 4 draw timber desk (Room 158)

 

Typical chair type 1. Typical chair type 2. Typical chair type 3.

 

Typical chair type 4. Typical chair type 4. Typical reading desk

 


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3 Analysis of Significance

An assessment of its cultural significance has been undertaken as follows.

3.1 Heritage Assessment Criteria

The Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter (see Appendix 1) defines cultural significance according to the following five types of value:

  • historic
  • aesthetic
  • scientific
  • social
  • spiritual.

3.2 NSW Heritage Assessment Criteria

The assessment of the significance of a place requires an evaluation of the fabric, uses, associations and meanings relating to the place, leading to detailed statement of significence.

The following assessment of significance has been prepared in accordance with the guidelines set out in the NSW Heritage Office and PlanningNSW’s publication, Heritage Assessments (1996, amended July 2002).

The Australian Heritage Commission (AHC) has very similar assessment guidelines and criteria.

State Historical Themes

Guidelines from the NSW Heritage Office emphasise the role of history in the heritage assessment process. Local historical themes are usually identified within local heritage studies and a list of state historical themes have been developed by the NSW Heritage Council. These themes assist in determining comparative significance and prevent one value taking precedence over others. For example, themes such as events, industry, social institutions and welfare can highlight important historical and social values which may be of equal or greater significance than an item’s aesthetic or research potential.

For the list of state historical themes developed by the NSW Heritage Council, see the Appendices.

NSW heritage assessment criteria, as set out in Heritage Assessments encompasses the five types of significance but expresses them in more detailed form according to the following criteria:

3. Analysis of Significance

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  • Criterion (a) An item is important in the course, or pattern, of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).
  • Criterion (b) An item has strong or special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).
  • Criterion (c) An item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in NSW (or in local area).
  • Criterion (d) An item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in NSW (or local area) for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.
  • Criterion (e) An item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).
  • Criterion (f) An item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).
  • Criterion (g) An item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of NSW’s cultural or natural places or environments (or a class of the local area’s cultural or natural places or environments).

The NSW Heritage Office recommends that all criteria be referred to when assessing an item’s significance, even though only complex items will be significant under all criteria.

The NSW Heritage Office also recommends that items be compared with similar items of local and/or State significance in order to fully assess their heritage significance.

3.3 Heritage Assessment of the Fisher Library

Criterion (a) An item is important in the course, or pattern, of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).

TO BE INSERTED

Criterion (b) An item has strong or special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).

TO BE INSERTED

Criterion (c) An item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in NSW (or in local area).

TO BE INSERTED

Criterion (d) An item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in NSW (or local area) for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

TO BE INSERTED

Criterion (e) An item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).

TO BE INSERTED

Criterion (f) An item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).

TO BE INSERTED

Criterion (g) An item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of NSW’s cultural or natural places or environments (or a class of the local area’s cultural or natural places or environments).

TO BE INSERTED


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4 Statement of Significance

4.1 Statement of Significance

Considering the above assessment, an appropriate statement of significance for the place is:

History: Phases and Events

As the second purpose-built home for the Fisher Library collection, one of the University’s most important endowed collections, and the first major university library to be built in Australia after WWII, the place is historically significant in the growth of the University, and reflects the changing requirements for library space in the post-war years as library collections grew and as developments in teaching and research led to a wider array of facilities, such as group study rooms, expected of the library.

The Fisher Library is historically significant as an influential library building which drew on international developments in library design, particularly in the United States, from the 1950s. As evidenced by its receiving the RIBA Gold Medal and the RAIA Sulman Award in 1962, the Undergraduate Wing reflects the contemporary appreciation held for the place by the architecture community at the time, and further reflects progressive aesthetic tastes of the time.

Associations

The Fisher Library is associated with the University Librarian, Dr Andrew D. Osborn; despite the fact that he had left the University by the time the new building opened. Nevertheless, Osborn contributed to the development of the University’s design brief for the new Fisher Library and, more broadly, was influential in the future direction of the University’s libraries.

The Fisher Library is also significant for its association with the architects who designed the building: the NSW Government Architects Branch (EH Farmer, Harry Rembert, Ken Woolley) and Tom O’Mahony of O’Mahony, Neville, and Morgan.

Aesthetic/Creative Value

At the time of its construction, the Fisher Library was a modernist design with a radical approach to siting. The horizontality of the undergraduate wing is balanced by the vertical emphasis of the bookstack, resulting in the most resolved of the University’s post-war modern buildings. Exhibiting features such as the geometrical form of the two wings, the external expression of structural members, and the cantilevered floor slabs, the Fisher Library is a good example of the late 20th century International style.

Social/Community Esteem

The Fisher Library is held in high esteem by the University of Sydney community as the University’s main resource centre, and a place most students would experience during their time at the University.

Science/Research Value

The Fisher Library is of significance for the technological innovations used in its construction, such as bronze wall cladding and window framing. The Fisher Library is a resources for understanding the architectural detailing of the architects, in particular Ken Woolley and Tom O’Mahony.

Rarity

The Fisher Library possesses a degree of rarity as the first of the large university library buildings to be constructed in Australia after World War II and, to an extent, as a model for the library buildings which followed. The book stack is rare as one of few tall office-type buildings to be designed by the NSW Government Architects Branch. The State Office Block, which shared several characteristics with the Fisher Library, such as the external bronze cladding, is now demolished.

Representativeness

The Fisher Library is one of few examples at Australian universities of the international mid-20th century trend in library design.

The Fisher Library is a good representative of a group of buildings, in particular educational buildings, constructed during EH Farmer’s 16-year tenure as NSW Government Architect, a period during which the work of the Government Architect’s Office entered a more progressive mode and architectural bodies such as the RAIA began to recognise the department’s work with awards, such as the Sulman Medal.

4.2 Summary Statement of Significance

A short statement of significance for the place is:

Influential as the first major university library building to be designed in Australia in the post-war period, the Fisher Library building is of historical significance as the second purpose-built home for the University of Sydney’s library collection, and is of social significance to the University community as a place which is visited frequently by most students during their time at the university, as a gathering place and as a resource centre. Designed by the NSW Government Architects Branch under EH Farmer (Ken Woolley, design architect for the Government Architects Branch) in association with the architect Tom O’Mahony, the Fisher Library Undergraduate Wing received two major architectural awards in 1962, reflecting the contemporary appreciation for the building by the architectural fraternity at the time.

4.3 Grades of Significance

The components of the place can be ranked in accordance with their relative significance as a tool to planning. The following grades are used in ranking the significance of the interior spaces of the Fisher Library (see Figure 4. 1 to Figure 4. 11).

 

Grade

Ranking on
plans

Justification

Exceptional

1

Rare or outstanding element directly contributing to an
item's local and State significance.

High

2-3

High degree of original fabric. A key element of the item's
significance.

Moderate

4-5

Altered or modified elements which contribute to the
overall significance of the item.

Some

6-7

Altered or recent elements which do not contribute to the
overall significance of the item.

Little

8

Containing very little fabric of significance.

None

9

Containing no fabric of significance.

 

Figure 4. 1: Ranking of significance, Level 1.

Figure 4. 1: Ranking of significance, Level 1.

 

 

Figure 4. 2: Ranking of significance, Level 2.

Figure 4. 2: Ranking of significance, Level 2.

 

 

 

Figure 4. 3: Ranking of significance, Level 3.

 

Figure 4. 3: Ranking of significance, Level 3.

 

 

Figure 4. 4: Ranking of significance, Level 4.

Figure 4. 4: Ranking of significance, Level 4.

 

 

Figure 4. 5: Ranking of significance, Level 5.

Figure 4. 5: Ranking of significance, Level 5.

 

 

 

Figure 4. 6: Ranking of significance, Level 6

Figure 4. 6: Ranking of significance, Level 6

 

Figure 4. 7: Ranking of significance, Level 7.

Figure 4. 7: Ranking of significance, Level 7.

 

 

Figure 4. 8: Ranking of significance, Level 8.

Figure 4. 8: Ranking of significance, Level 8.

 

Figure 4. 9: Ranking of significance, Level 9.

Figure 4. 9: Ranking of significance, Level 9.

 

 

Figure 4. 10: Ranking of significance, Level 10.

Figure 4. 10: Ranking of significance, Level 10.

 

Figure 4. 11: Ranking of significance, Level 11.

Figure 4. 11: Ranking of significance, Level 11.

 


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