The Reid Library, Crawley


  • Project

    A library for the University of Western Australia to accommodate 800 readers and 240,000 books

  • Services

    Full service architecture

  • Location

    Crawley, WA

  • Client

    The University of WA

  • Completed


Completed in 1964, the design for the University of Western Australia’s Reid Library is informed by context, as well as principles of symmetry and proportion. The building is sited at the southern end of the Great Court, directly opposite Winthrop Hall, acknowledging the significance of the building to the university.

Gil Nicol, the library’s primary architect, believed that a building should be very simple and very beautiful, and expressed in two materials only. This philosophy is reflected in the library’s design, still celebrated for its functionality and aesthetic charm more than fifty years later.

The library was designed to provide an outward and visible sign of the growing significance of library services to the university. The manifestation of this is a 20th century Stripped Classical building that has an ordered, precise and static monumental appearance.

In 1964, Cameron Chisholm Nicol was awarded the RIBA Bronze medal for the Reid Library, recognising its contribution to the development of cultural institutions. In 1995 the building was listed on the State Heritage Register, celebrated for its historical significance representing development, settlement and the provision of higher education to the State. The Reid Library has a social significance to the local and State-wide community, in particular the past and present students and staff.

In 2015 The Reid Library was nominated for the AIA’s Enduring Architecture Award, a testament to the enduring value of quality design. It has been nominated again in 2017.

UWA celebrated the library’s 50th year in 2015, and created a pictorial record 50 Facts: Fifty Years