There is a library on Swantson Street that met a very sad fate. It sank right into the street below however it isn’t all bad, some of it remains to remind us that it is possible to fill a library with too many books.

At least that is one of the stories. It is called Architectural Fragment and designed by Petrus Spronk, part of the Swanston Walk Public Art Project. This info taken from

I have walked by it multiple times however as everything was so new for me until recently, I didn’t really give it a second glance. But a few days back I gave it a proper look and realized it was giving the illusion of a sinking building. It looks very cool that’s for sure.

Despite it not being an actual ruin it is still a shame to see mindless graffiti on it. That and the countless people passing by not giving it attention as it becomes submerged makes it seem like a building that was once grand and dominant in the city, now a victim of time. A fate libraries may indeed face with audio books and the like.

What are your thoughts on this piece of art?



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45 thoughts

  1. The state library is well worth exploring as well. Some fabulous and historic maps on the upper floors documenting the growth of Melbourne. Graffiti is such a disrespectful blight. Its nice to see my own city through your fresh eyes.

    1. I have been in, but did little exploring… I haven’t seen the maps or documents talking of the cities history but it sounds fascinating. I am pleased you enjoy reading my posts of your great city!

    1. Well if she comes here she would be relieved to see the State Library of Victoria just around the corner 🙂 it is just behind the building in the first picture!

  2. Sam, I love civic art and there are tons of examples of it in France which is keen to promote all forms of art. Trouble is people often don’t have time, or take the time, to just stop, stare and appreciate.

    1. Especially in European cities where every street has beautiful historical architecture too! Sometimes you don’t know which way to look 🙂

  3. I think it’s amazing, I’ve never seen anything like that before. It sickens me when I see graffiti on monuments or buildings. 🙁

    1. Glad you like it too! I am surprised it hasn’t been washed off yet as there are always street cleaners spraying down bins and the like…

  4. Yikes, the idea of a library sinking into the ground – and taking all the book-gems with it – is distressing. The sculpture itself, though, is brilliant and definitely my kind of stroll-stopper 😉

    1. Reminding me of the Royal Library of Alexandria and the fire there… which I am now currently looking into again! But at least this one is just art 🙂

  5. That is the coolest thing ever!
    I think libraries are even more relevant, now. Mine is a hoppin’ place. As long as there are people who use them (and don’t have financial independence) they’ll be around. There are a lot of people working to ensure they never fall.
    I’m with you on the graffiti but you know, I agree with the sentiment about Coral over Coal. That’s for sure!

    1. I do use them a lot on my travels as they are a great place for wifi and an environment where everyone else is working! And with them often being historic places with rich history I guess they will never be boring to people.

      And I didn’t actually read what it said until you mentioned it! However at least it is a good message. This is a spot for many protests since I have been here so it isn’t really a surprise this kind of message is on display here 🙂

    1. I agree Jessica, I was just mentioning to the blogger above that this area is popular for protests, and therefore it isn’t a surprise the ‘Coral not Coal’ message is here. At least it is considerate graffiti I guess, haha.

  6. Libraries are in danger of losing funding so this art could not be highlighted at a greater time. Libraries are much more than book receptacles. They also offer classes, enrichment activities, speakers on various topics, wifi and computer access- all free to the public. They are an immense resource and should not be lost.

    1. It would be a great shame to see such a downfall, as they have been so important throughout history. I totally agree they are more than just a place for books, and often the building itself is significant. Hopefully there will be action to ensure such establishments are preserved and protected!

  7. I just finished (and reviewed) The Library Book by Susan Orlean. She explores the future of libraries in the digital age. I believe libraries continue to be relevant and vital public spaces. Not everyone has a computer or WIFI. Libraries offer programming, workshops, author readings, clubs, educational and career resources, comfortable reading/work spaces, and meeting places for people to gather. I think this art piece serves to remind of us the essential right to free speech and the right for access to information and books.

    1. Interesting, I haven’t heard of this book but it sounds like a fascinating read. I do believe that even in the digital age libraries will play a big role, since I have been travelling it is a place I am guaranteed free wifi and a place to concentrate!! And I feel we have a love affair with libraries, something that connects us to our past.

      Thank you for the comments!

    1. Thank you for commenting 🙂 It is fascinating how things change and what survives the test of time, I wonder what libraries will be like in a hundred years time…

      1. I’m referring to the concept of a library so full that it is sinking… a short story or poem?

      2. I know, just saying that this library is too busy sinking to have another book! 🙂 I agree with you though, it would be a fun story.

  8. Hi Sam, I work in a public library and love anything library-related. Especially something like this that makes people think, “Hey, I haven’t been to the library in awhile”.

    1. And the great thing about this sculpture is that it is right next to the State Library of Victoria 🙂 so there is no excuse to not pop in for a visit! I am pleased you work in an environment you enjoy, this helps a lot 🙂

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