Six Teams in Running for Adelaide Contemporary

John Hill
15. May 2018
Images © Individual Teams / Malcolm Reading Consultants

Adjaye Associates, BIG, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro are among the six teams shortlisted for the Adelaide Contemporary, a new gallery and sculpture park that "will show art from around the world alongside the Government of South Australia’s peerless collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art."

Adelaide Contemporary is planned for a site on North Terrace, the city’s historic cultural and educational avenue. The 15,000m2 project has an estimated budget of up to AUD 250 million and will include a public art sculpture park, a contemporary art gallery and an accessible community meeting place, all meant to "integrate art, education, nature and people."

Malcolm Reading Consultants launched the Adelaide Contemporary in October 2017, and it garnered expressions of interest from 107 teams. A panel shortlisted six joint international and Australian teams to develop concept designs. The winner will be announced later this year.

The shorlist, in alphabetical order by lead designer:

  • Adjaye Associates (UK) and BVN (Australia)
  • BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Denmark) and JPE Design Studio (Australia)
  • David Chipperfield Architects (UK) and SJB Architects (Australia)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (USA) and Woods Bagot (Australia)
  • HASSELL (Australia) and SO-IL (USA)
  • Khai Liew (Australia), Office of Ryue Nishizawa (Japan) and Durbach Block Jaggers (Australia)

Images and text descriptions from the Adelaide Contemporary Shortlist Gallery are below. Malcolm Reading Consultants is soliciting comments on the designs; just visit the above link to email the competition organizers.

Adjaye Associates and BVN

Image © Adjaye Associates and BVN / Malcolm Reading Consultants

Adjaye Associates and BVN with McGregor Coxall, Steensen Varming, Plan A Consultants, Barbara Flynn, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Aurecon Group and Front Inc

"The building is conceived as a mythical primal house, set on the land of the Kaurna people. It negotiates the relationship between Aboriginal Country, urban grid and the future-facing city into a synthesised moment of cultural enlightenment.

"The logic of space is informed by the idea of the house as a vessel for art and meaning. A central light-filled heart – a grand atrium – is surrounded by a series of balconies and rooms, which connect with framed views towards ritualised landscape and distant Kaurna dreaming tracks. The atrium culminates in a skylight, which dissolves the building into light, leading visitors upwards, towards a deeper understanding of culture.

"The design establishes a unique visual identity that together with its spatial response, informs a greater sense of place – a place of inspiration, dialogue and encounter. It serves as a physical and symbolic connector of people, art and legacy across culture, geography, time and tradition."

Image © Adjaye Associates and BVN / Malcolm Reading Consultants

BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and JPE Design Studio

Image © BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and JPE Design Studio / Malcolm Reading Consultants

Bjarke Ingels Group and JPE Design Studio with United Natures, Arketype, BuildSurv, Virtual Built, Future Urban Group, Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien, Marijana Tadic, Erica Green, Peter Dungey, Brian Parkes and Lindy Lee

"The Adelaide Contemporary seeks to reconsider the orthodoxy of how Australian art is curated and experienced through the juxtaposition of art produced contemporaneously across geographical and cultural boundaries.

"We propose to embrace this agenda by incorporating the multiple interests surrounding our site to create an inclusive architecture – a seamless merging between the city and the garden with a diversity of pragmatic yet exciting spaces for art in between.

"Appearing as an extension of the city to the west and pavilions in a garden to the east, the Contemporary will enlarge both public realm and the Botanic Garden, experienced in the ebbs and flows of hard- and soft-scape on its rooftops.

"To the north it gently steps down in transition to the gardens and the Palm House. On North Terrace it will establish a respectful yet iconic presence with a public plaza and expanded entrance to the Botanic Garden."

Image © BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and JPE Design Studio / Malcolm Reading Consultants

David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects

Image © David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects / Malcolm Reading Consultants

David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects with Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture and Arup Lighting

"Adelaide Contemporary will be an open and inviting place in the city. The building – its form, materiality and urban response – has developed from an understanding of the characteristics of the site and region. The gallery, both unique and of its context, lends itself to the display, reinterpretation and coming together of art from a variety of mediums and origins.

"The building is a timber structure, comprising large screens and sloping roofs. Distinct from its neighbours, it sits comfortably as part of both city and garden, providing a threshold between the two. Volumetrically, three linear, staggered bars extend from North Terrace toward the Botanic Garden. To the north and east, a landscaped garden creates a new vibrant, open space in Adelaide. The Gallery of Time sits at the heart of the building, while areas for further display, learning, debate and engagement are located on the exterior, visible to the city."

Image © David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects / Malcolm Reading Consultants

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot

Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot / Malcolm Reading Consultants

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot with Oculus, Pentagram, Right Angle Studio, Klynton Wanganeen, Dustin Yellin, Studio Adrien Gardère, Australian Dance Theatre, Deloitte, Ekistics and Katnich Dodd

"Adelaide Contemporary is a new cultural paradigm that places the idea of the 'contemporary' within an expanded time frame, linking the deep history of Aboriginal culture, the historical and geographic breadth of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection, the perpetual present of festivals and events, and art into the future.

"The building is conceived of as a curatorial apparatus tailored to support these juxtapositions of time, geography, scale, and media. A matrix of unique spaces unbound by disciplinary categories range in size, height, infrastructure and light quality, and provide infinite flexibility for work across media. Daylit galleries above and light controlled galleries below are linked by a ground floor Super Lobby – a radically welcoming extension of the city and its gardens. Combining curatorial experimentation with new modes of education anchored by the Gallery of Time, Adelaide Contemporary will be a cultural incubator for South Australia and the world."

Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot / Malcolm Reading Consultants


Image © HASSELL and SO-IL / Malcolm Reading Consultants

HASSELL and SO-IL with Ali Cobby Eckermann, Arup, Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, Fabio Ongarato Design, Fiona Hall and Mosbach Paysagistes

"The world is changing rapidly, and so is how we relate to our history and the environment. Beyond providing South Australia with a state-of-the-art facility for exhibiting art, Adelaide Contemporary also needs to anticipate, respond to, and evolve with the increasing importance and expanded presence of arts in public life.

"We have taken inspiration from what makes Adelaide special. Like the River Torrens Karrawirra Parri – a powerful and gracious river that gives life to Adelaide – Adelaide Contemporary will carry and deposit fertile ideas along the course of culture, constantly attracting, hosting, and transmitting pulses between the Australian heartland and locations abroad. 

"The architecture we propose hosts both the formal and the informal; the everyday and the exceptional. It is humble enough to be open-ended as well as audacious enough to generate more energy than it consumes. It experiments outside the conventional tropes of institutional architecture. Through sensitivity and lightness, the building will restore the parkland to a state of balance between nature, art, and people."

Image © HASSELL and SO-IL / Malcolm Reading Consultants

Khai Liew, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers

Image © Khai Liew, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers / Malcolm Reading Consultants

Khai Liew, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers with Masako Yamazaki, Mark Richardson, Arup, Irma Boom, Taylor Cullity Lethlean and URPS

"We propose a museum like a park with open areas where people can stay freely and gradually shift from art, nature, and public spaces while wandering through the architecture. We imagine architecture that sits gently on the ground to allow for everyone to criss-cross the site freely and to experience gradually integrating urban and natural atmospheres.

"Like a park where different activities happen simultaneously, this place gathers a museum, public spaces, nature, people, terraces and sculptures as part of one realm. We envisioned a large roof to create a comfortable, shaded place to invite people underneath. While providing soft shade, the horizontal gesture of the roof creates openness on all sides so breeze and nature flow through. By creating a large roof floating above the place, we had a feeling it could become a place in Adelaide where people gather, spend time and meet art; where they use the place freely as they imagine."

Image © Khai Liew, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers / Malcolm Reading Consultants

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