The new Surry Hills Library and Community Centre (SHLCC) sets new standards for integrated sustainable design in public buildings. Innovative environmental systems and sustainable design philosophies are encapsulated in a flexible state-of-the-art community hub that includes a library over 2 levels, community centre and child-care facility. The design seeks to establish a contemporary sense of place that will provide an open and inviting public facility with strong connection to its setting. We have sought to create a certain ‘monumentality’, significance and dignity to this important public place, and the community values it embodies. The architecture is conceived with simple forms, each a response to the urban framework while symbiotic to the functional, pragmatic and environmental control requirements. While the architecture is inviting and transparent, it is also to a degree ‘silent’, such that it offers a contrasting environment to the ‘noise’ of its urban context. SHLCC is unique in its design philosophy by combining beauty and functionalism without highlighting and exposing the environmental initiatives. They are intrinsic and multifunctional within the very fabric of the building, in this way the building is a reflection of the next level of maturity in environmentally responsible design.