Building The Edge

Take a look at where it all started with the building of The Edge.

The Context

The Edge was conceived by the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) as a digital culture centre, focused on creative communities pushing the boundaries of aesthetics, design, social action, green initiatives, and broadcast through new tools and technologies. The Edge development, driven by Tory Jones, the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Projects and State Librarian Lea Giles-Peters, was designed to further the commitment of SLQ to knowledge-sharing and access to resources. The Edge was to have a strong focus on state-of-the-art tools and technology, as well as globally significant research, production and presentation opportunities.

The Edge was a cornerstone of the arts, culture + me, Action Plan for Children and Young People in the Arts 2008 – 2011. The Edge’s target audience was initially scoped to be 15-25 year olds, as SLQ recognised its engagement with young people needed to be developed, satisfying more than just a need for internet and study space.

The Nuts and Bolts

From January to November 2008, a fluid mix of staff and consultants worked to manage the building fit-out design and specification as well as set up the model and systems for effective operation of The Edge. This interim project team included several SLQ staff seconded from other parts of the library, the Queensland Government Chief Information Office, Arts Queensland and the Queensland Academy of Creative Industries, with specialist direction and input from consultants who had skills and expertise not available in-house.

Transformational building works began on the former Queensland Theatre Company auditorium building adjacent to the State Library at South Bank in 2009. This building had already lived a thousand lives, as the Fountain Room Restaurant, a prop store house and a space for library collections and staff, and it was about to take on yet another role as a centre for digital experimentation and experiential learning in Brisbane.

The Edge officially opened on 26 February 2010 and the opening was attended by the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, The State Librarian and Library Board Chair and over 400 invitees. The opening event included a media preview, VIP Launch and public opening and was attended by 30 members of the news, entertainment and street media.

The Learnings

  • While the audience was initiatially identified to be 15-25 year olds, it quickly became apparent that the facilities and programs offered by The Edge were of interest to a much broader demographic. The focus for the team shifted to empowering those of all ages to be creative across art, science, technology and enterprise.
  • Initially The Edge’s opening hours were scheduled for 12pm to 6pm daily including weekends. Feedback strongly suggested these hours were insufficient for the needs of The Edge’s core stakeholder group, and opening hours were extended until 8pm daily, with the venue close to the public on Monday.

The Legacy

Read on to learn what happened next.

 

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