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DS+R and Woods Bagot selected to design new Adelaide Cultural Complex in Australia

Australia - Jun 5, 2018 - 09:11   3715 views

New York-based interdisciplinary firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Australian architecture firm Woods Bagot have won an international competition to design a dynamic new art space on Adelaide’s celebrated North Terrace.

The team was on this shortlist announced last month and the Arts South Australia and competition organisers Malcolm Reading Consultants have announced today that the team led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot will design the Adelaide's new arts complex that can create "a charismatic soft beacon on North Terrace."

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot have beaten the six international firms in the competition, including Adjaye Associates and BVN, BIG and JPE Design Studio, David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects, HASSELL and SO-IL, Khai Lieu, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers.

View from North

"The winning team’s concept design reconciled the brief for a dynamic people-friendly new place with a skilfully-organised gallery, while also incorporating a performance lab, a dramatic ‘Super Lobby’, floating top-floor sky galleries and a suspended rooftop garden," stated by the competition.

"The garden, inspired by ‘Minkunthi’, the Kaurna word ‘to relax’, would display the planting of a pre-colonised South Australian landscape, linking the idea of the contemporary to Kaurna ecological and cultural history."

View from Performance Lab

The building was described by the team in their presentation as a charismatic soft beacon on North Terrace that would reflect the sky by day and, at night, glow with galleries – allowing visitors to glimpse the art collection as they passed the building outside formal opening hours and, in this sense, ‘giving the art back to the city’.

The nine-strong international jury, chaired by Michael Lynch AO CBE, found the concept design to be resonant to Adelaide, and its famous festival culture, promising to create spectacle and attract new audiences with dynamic, multipurpose spaces while also displaying a sound understanding of current art practice and offering a flexible but distinctive gallery configuration on a nine-square model.

Daytime view from North Terrace

The project will be developed as a new gallery and public sculpture that is envisioned as one of the most significant new arts initiatives of 21st-century Australia. 

The new arts complex will be a national focal point for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultures as well as new spaces for major exhibitions, and the opportunity to unlock the hidden treasures of South Australia’s State collections.

"The winning team’s concept design responds to this once-in-a-generation opportunity for a landmark building in the heart of the city, positioned on the edge of the Botanic Garden. In a city famous for its festivals, the design creates a new place that embraces art in all of its forms and appeals to a broad audience, both local and international," said Michael Lynch AO CBE, chair of the jury and the Art Gallery of South Australia Board’s Special Advisor.

"The design foregrounds South Australia’s exceptional collections and capitalises on the momentum of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s recent successes in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture."

Upper Floor Southern Bay

"I’d like to join the jury in thanking all six finalist teams for their high calibre presentations and congratulate Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot on their inspired design," said Peter Louca, Executive Director of Arts South Australia.

"The overwhelming global attention this process has invited from design, creative and infrastructure leaders and the world’s media has put the creation of Adelaide’s next great cultural destination on the international map."

"This was reflected in the high calibre of teams and proposals which challenged the international jury."

Upper Level and Rooftop Garden

Adelaide is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and the project site, close to the Art Gallery of South Australia and part of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site, is rich in Kaurna heritage.

All the finalist schemes went on show to the public on 12 May in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia that runs until 10 June. They are also available to view online through the competition website

Section Perspective

The competition was run by independent organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants, in accordance with the procurement and major project requirements of the Government of South Australia. The conditions for the second stage of the competition were formally endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.

All images © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot

> via Malcolm Reading Colsultants