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Meet our Corporate Members: Ruth Wilson, Architectus

In the first instalment of our new Corporate Member profile series, we meet Ruth Wilson, Founding Principal at Architectus, the award-winning firm behind State Library Victoria’s Vision 2020 redevelopment.

Architectus is a top-tier Australian architecture and design studio specialising in commercial, education, interiors, public, residential, transport, urban design and planning.

‘Our design philosophy centres on the human experience of the spaces and places we create, framed with a deep respect for Country and the context in which we design. We work with a wide range of clients and stakeholders to uncover the potential of each project and are committed to creating a sustainable future for our planet and our communities. We operate as a single studio with our creative team based in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

‘I am a founding Principal of the national practice; an architect actively working across a range of fascinating projects; the leader of our Client and Communications team; a board member and a passionate advocate for the professions of architecture and design.

‘My relationship with the Library began as a student at RMIT. Like so many, when it was time to knuckle down on a written assignment, I would head to the Library. Those were the days of the museum being in Queen’s Hall. I remember going there to stare at the taxidermic bird-eating spiders of Papua New Guinea – trying to desensitise myself to reduce my fear of creepy crawlies. It actually worked to an extent!

‘My deep relationship with the Library began in 2016 when Architectus, together with Danish based architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, were awarded the $88.1m redevelopment project. That was the beginning of an incredible four-year journey to design and realise the redevelopment as you can experience it today.

‘The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall is a rare and beautiful space, truly one of Melbourne’s great rooms. The redevelopment has returned it to the people of Victoria after almost a decade of closure. Together with the engineers WSP and the contractors Built, we reimagined the roof lights that had been covered for decades and today natural light pours in from above – it is such an uplifting space to be in. Within the couple of short years it has been reopened I have made so many deeply personal memories; from the Architectus Christmas party the day after the official opening, to my own wedding just before the first wave of Covid hit Melbourne, to a sad but beautiful memorial service of our colleague Gabrielle Moylan who was the heritage architect on the redevelopment, working for Andronas Conservation Architects. Another memory is set to be made later this year as Architectus turns 21 and celebrates with clients and collaborators in The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall – we are very much looking forward to that!

‘The Library and Architectus both have people at our heart. Working with the incredible staff at the library through the consultation phases of the redevelopment really showed us how tuned in the Library is to the many different types of people that make up Victoria. Like us, they were fascinated with people’s reactions, preferences, movement and occupation of spaces. It was wonderful to work with like-minded people to conceive of spaces that would be welcoming, useful and spark curiosity for every facet of our community.

‘Our Corporate Membership with State Library Victoria opens many doors for Architectus. We engage with the collection, speakers and topics that we may not otherwise be around, giving us an even broader knowledge base to operate from. Being literally just down the road from our studio, we gather team members to attend some of the events and invite clients and collaborators to others. It is always very rewarding to see people in the reimagined spaces of the redevelopment, making connections with the collection, with today’s important topics, and with each other.’

– Ruth Wilson