Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre Revealed

John Hill
3. February 2021
Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot

Adelaide’s Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC) has released updated renderings of its proposed 11,500 square meter building designed by New York's Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Australia's Woods Bagot.

The two architecture practices won the competition for what was originally called Adelaide Contemporary in June 2018, beating out a handful of big-name teams. The winning design (image at bottom of this post) featured a predominantly solid upper level lifted above a transparent level at and below grade. The renderings released yesterday show an evolution of the form, with a more sculptural upper level and clearly visible diagonal columns lifting that level above the surrounding landscape. Charles Renfro, partner at DS+R, said in a statement: "The AACC will welcome visitors through a radically open ground floor, into a safe space with storytelling at its heart."

Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot

The design team's "vision statement" establishes that the design for the building, notably located on Kaurna land, "originates from the Aboriginal conception of the elements that link us to place: earth, land and sky." In regards to that trio, "lower level galleries and terraced landscapes are carved from the earth, [...] reveals in the upper galleries frame views oriented to the sky, [... and] between these exhibition levels is a radically welcoming arrival ground plane that extends to the land in all directions and reorients the building and its entry to Kaingka Wirra (Adelaide Botanic Garden)." The facade of the upper level was inspired by "the temporary shelter structures created by Aboriginal peoples across Australia, known by names such as 'wurlie' and 'humpy'."

The competition-winning design in 2018. (Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot)

By incorporating the input of Aboriginal groups into the design, the AACC echoes other recent projects featured in our Magazine, including KPMB Architects' competition-winning design for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the recently completed Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal designed by LMN Architects.

Construction of the AACC is scheduled to start later this year and the center is due to open in early 2025.

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