Library creates new look for city

Kate Emery
Blown away: Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

For now it takes a ride in a metal building hoist and three flights of vertigo-inducing stairs to reach the top of the $60 million site dubbed "the city's lounge room".

But by early next year when the City of Perth library opens to the public, the journey should be less arduous.

A sneak peek inside the site yesterday coincided with a "topping out" ceremony marking completion of the concrete structure.

The fourth level does not yet boast its plaza where the public will be encouraged to linger in cosy armchairs with books or electronic devices using the free wi-fi. It does, however, offer near-360 degree views of the city centre.

Three flights up that view extends to the Narrows Bridge and Elizabeth Quay on one side and the entrance to Hay Street mall on another.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said she expected people to be "blown away" by the building's design.

It is the first public building commissioned by the city since the Perth Concert Hall in 1972.

"In terms of where the city's going at the moment this particular project is very special," Ms Scaffidi said. "It's a monumental project."

She hoped the library and its coffee shop would become the city's new meeting place.

The distinctive circular design was described by Doric executive general manager Vince Mulholland as both the builder’s “greatest challenge” and it’s “greatest achievement”.

"It was really important we maintained a Western Australian flavour to the exterior of the building, which is constructed from Austral Verde stone from Norseman," he said.

"We’re very proud of the finish, which we believe is both monumental and memorable."

The library is a key piece of the Treasury- Cathedral precinct with 3500sqm over seven floors.