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General Overview Of The Fisher Library Of The University Of Sydney

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The appropriate lighting design is a critical component in architecture. Aside from complimenting the architecture by adding to the aesthetic appeal of an infrastructure, good lighting also ensures safety, efficiency and productivity (Ayuga & Zamorano, 2018). There are numerous factors to consider in achieving good lighting design. This paper will focus on reviewing these factors by using an actual infrastructure to analyze, specifically the Fisher Library. The Fisher Library is one of the twelve libraries that forms the library system of the University of Sydney. The analysis would include an assessment of the function of the space and the effectiveness of the current lighting. Finally, this paper will offer an alternative approach to the present lighting design.

The Fisher Library is one of the twelve libraries across seven different locations of the University of Sydney. It was first library to make up the University of Sydney Library System. The Fisher Library was initially located in the Quadrangle, which is now the Senate Room. However, the library was eventually moved into its new location along Eastern Avenue of Camperdown campus around 1962. The Fisher Library is considered the largest library of the twelve libraries in the library system. This library is one of the four other libraries in the University of Sydney that is open for 24 hours. It houses a collection of books and references in Humanities, Social Sciences and commercial disciplines. While on the outside, the Fisher Library appeared to be just a single building, the University claims that it is two separate buildings—the Fisher North (Bldg. F03) and Fisher South (Bldg. F04). The Fisher South Building was built five years after the North Building was established. This building is noted for its copper-clad outer walls. Majority of the History book collection is being housed in this building. The East Asian collection along with the University Archives can also be found in this building. Students can find a silent study desk in this library for when they need some serious reading and reviewing. However, a section of the building is shared with the School of Psychology.

The Fisher Library is used for different reasons. This building is primarily used as a study and research facility for students, faculty members and guests. However, the library is closed to the public, community borrowers and alumni after information desk hours, which runs from 8am to 10pm. While the library is open for everyone, the Fisher Library specifically caters to three departments—the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Faculty of Education and Social Work, and the Business School.

There are study desks found on the third level of the building. There is a total of 35 desks that can accommodate one person at a time, and it is equipped with a carrel style desk with power point, and a total of 19 PC desks equipped with a PC on a bench style desk. Aside from being a study area, the Fisher Library also have four meeting rooms that can be booked. These rooms can accommodate a maximum of five people per cubicle. Two of the meeting rooms (Rooms 204 and 205) are equipped with a desk, with five chairs, a large touch screen monitor, built-in PC or a wireless laptop interactivity, lighting control, Adobe Connect and JoinMe software. On the other hand, the two other meeting rooms (Room 211 and 212) have a desk with five seats, a DVD/VHS player, a BluRay DVD player, a large monitor, and a temperature and lighting control.

The largest library in the university of Sydney also has four multimedia rooms. Each room is coded by a color—purple (Room 401A), yellow (Room 401B), red (Room 401C), and blue (Room 401D). Each of these rooms can accommodate a maximum of two people at a time. Each of these four rooms has a computer and monitor. Students who want to use this room can borrow a headset from the information desk if needed. The Fisher Library is one of the only two libraries that has an Assistive Technology Room, along with the Health Sciences Library. This facility is particularly designed for students and faculties who have special needs. Students who want to use this room can request assistance from the University’s Disability Services, while the faculty and staff of the University can check with the staff with disabilities site. This room is equipped with software and hardware that are meant to assist individuals with special needs.

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There are plenty of wide glass panels that acts as a window and source of natural light during the day, particularly in the Fisher North Building (Refer to Figure 1). These allows the library to conserve on energy during daytime to maximize the use of natural light. In Figure 2, there is a wide, round light surround the information desk. There are also several square-shaped ceiling lights, which helps provide ambient light to the room. These square lights are evenly spaced throughout the room. It helped that the ceilings are not too high making the light brighter on the space it covers (Bader, 2014).

Figure 1: Glass wall panels

Figure 2: Information desk at Level 3

Figure 3 shows the meeting room and media room found in the Level 2 and Level 4 respectively. The meeting room has narrow glass panels that served as window and source of light during daytime. However, it does not seem to have adequate artificial light for when the rooms will be used during late afternoon or in the evening. There are several pendant lights found around the room and one directly on top of the table. Pendant lights direct the light down on a particular area instead of scattering it around the room (Connors, 2019). It is used to enhance the decorative style of the room and provide task lighting.

Figure 3: Meeting Room (left); Media Room (right)

After analyzing the lighting design at the Fisher Library of the University of Sydney, it was found that while there were plenty of sources for natural light, it seemed to have inadequate source of artificial light. In some areas of the library there were light fixtures that seemed to be too much for a small space like the light fixture surrounding the information desk as found in Figure 2. The information desk does not need that much of light just concentrated in a small space. The meeting room uses pendant lights, and while it adds to the aesthetic value of the room, there is no point to have a light control in this room. Meeting rooms would naturally need sufficient lighting and a ceiling light could have done the trick on this room. As far as the media room is concerned, the issue here is more on how the entire room was designed. Instead of cemented walls, the room is surrounded by glass. The light from the outside may be a good source of natural or artificial light, but it defeats the purpose of a media room where students would often view a film or a video which often requires turn off the light or at least diming the light. In this case, because of the glass walls this cannot be done.


  1. Ayuga, C. E. T., & Zamorano, J. (2018). Lica astrocalc, a software to analyze the impact of. artificial light: extracting parameters from the spectra of street and indoor lamps. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer, 214, 33-38.
  2. Bader, G. (2014). University of sydney library. Retrieved on 29 October 2019 from:
  3. Connors, J. (2019). Types of Lighting Fixtures. Retrieved on 29 October 2019 from:

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