The Round House - Roy Grounds' modernist
architectural masterpiece - has been converted
and extended to accommodate the Mona library.
The Round House was built in 1958 for Claudio
Alcorso's parents. It radiates from a circular
central chimney, wrapped in a spiral staircase.
The contemporary extension, by Fender Katsalidis
architects, is comprised of three curved, zinc-clad
ridges that also radiate from the centre of the house.
There's a tunnel to take you there, through the
burrowed earth. There are 5000 books, and
artwork by Anselm Kiefer, Brett Whiteley and
others, when you arrive.
You can explore and read; discern the art and
architecture. If you chew gum or behave like
a hooligan Mary will throw you out.
Our book collection reflects David Walsh's tastes
(which are both prolific and eccentric; as a kid he had
no friends, so decided to dedicate his small life to
reading, in Dewey order, the entirety of the Glenorchy
City Library. Somehow that seems cool now, but it
wasn't at the time).
The collection focuses on ancient cultures, particularly
Egyptian, Greek, Roman and pre-Colombian, and
modern and contemporary art. There is also a fine
collection of books on numismatics.
The precision, polish and elegance of a great museum is
evident. Repositories of wisdom, they magnify the glory
of a society as they sanctify. Faceted like diamonds they
highlight the lustre of the many component cultures
and fields of endeavour they catalogue. Mona is shells
on a beach, battered, life extracted, disorganised and
full of wonderment.
As a boy I had limited access to the great repositories
of artefact but I, like most of us, held a library card.
A real treasure. If a museum is a cultural gemstone
then a book is cultural Lego.