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Friday, 17 November 2023

Behind-the-scenes of construction at Subiaco Library

Restoration works are currently underway at Subiaco Library (E H Parker Library) to restore the 52-year-old building to its former glory.

The library was designed by architects Silver Goldberg, and officially opened on 25 February 1971. At the time, it was the most aggressively modern building in Subiaco.

The original architect Dennis Silver has fond memories of the building’s inception.

“My concept was started off with a Commonwealth Games village. It had jarrah beams with the streamer ceiling system, so when I came to the library, I did steel frame and the stream for it because I like looking at the structure,” he said.

“I think everyone wanted a new library at that stage. It’s nice to see it being restored.”

The current architect responsible for the restoration works, Brandon Pratley, said the building’s unique design has stood the test of time.

“I think the library is a great asset for the City to have. A lot of people associate heritage with things that are really old, but you look at this building now, at over 50 years old, and it’s a very good example of modernist style.”

Brandon also spoke fondly of the community who have connected with the building over the span of decades; “Preserving buildings is about preserving connections. The library is an expression of its time and it’s still working, so let’s maintain it and preserve it and provide it for people in the future to see and enjoy.”

The restoration works are running smoothly, and include a number of tasks such as addressing defects, installing an external lighting display, replacing hard and soft landscape elements, and general preservation works.

One aspect of preservation has involved sourcing white quartz stones to restore the building’s exterior walls. As part of this process, stones were sourced from a quarry in Muchea, and individually hand-sorted to remove iron and multi-coloured stones from the mix.


Once sorted, these stones were scattered onto the walls in a process known as ‘pebble dashing’, where the stones are mixed with cement to create a coarse surface effect.

Keep an eye on the City’s Facebook page for further updates about the construction process, and visit our project page for more information about the restoration objectives.
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