DS+R and Woods Bagot Win Adelaide Contemporary

John Hill
5. June 2018
View from North Terrace (Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot)

Arts South Australia and Malcolm Reading Consultants have announced that the team led by New York's Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Adelaide's Woods Bagot has won the competition for the new Adelaide Contemporary.

Selected from the six international teams shortlisted last month, the full winning team is made up of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot with Oculus, Pentagram, Right Angle Studio, Klynton Wanganeen, Dustin Yellin, Studio Adrien Gardere, Australian Dance Theatre, Deloitte, Ekistics and Katnich Dodd.

View from the north (Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot)

Adelaide Contemporary is planned for a site on North Terrace, the city’s historic cultural and educational avenue, as a 15,000-m2 building with a public art sculpture park, a contemporary art gallery and an accessible community meeting place, all focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

​As described in a statement from competition organizer Malcolm Reading Consultants, the winning team "reconciled the brief for a dynamic people-friendly new place with a skilfully-organized gallery, while also incorporating a performance lab, a dramatic 'Super Lobby,' floating top-floor sky galleries and a suspended rooftop garden."

Section Perspective (Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot)

The section perspective through the building and landscape is most telling. It reveals how half of the program area is sunk below grade, connected to the North Terrace via a sloped landscape. The Super Lobby sits in a gap between the lower and upper floors. And indirect southern light is brought into the generously sized top-floor galleries through large sculpted clerestories, while the roof garden seems to float magically in the middle of the building.

Performance Lab (Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot)

"The building was described by the team in their presentation," per Malcolm Reading, "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.'"

Upper level and rooftop garden (Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot)

The jury that selected the winning team:

  • Michael Lynch AO CBE (Chair), Chair, Sydney Community Foundation and Chair, Circa
  • Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Deputy Chair, Australia Council for the Arts, Managing Director, L-AB & Associates and Executive, Aboriginal Strategy, South Australian Film Corporation
  • Beatrice Galilee, Daniel Brodsky Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Walter Hood, Creative Director and Founder, Hood Design Studio
  • David Knox, Deputy Chair, Economic Development Board of South Australia and Member, Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation Committee
  • Toshiko Mori, Founder and Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect and Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Lisa Slade, Assistant Director, Artistic Programs, Art Gallery of South Australia
  • Sally Smart, Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne and renowned contemporary artist
  • Tracey Whiting, Chair, Art Gallery of South Australia Board

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot (Photo: Saul Steed)

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