Adelaide Contemporary Design Competition draws global response

One hundred and seven teams – made up of circa 525 individual firms – from five continents apply

North Terrace John Gollings 05 Lr
© John Gollings

Competition organisers Malcolm Reading Consultants revealed today [1 December 2017] that the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition has attracted 107 teams made up of circa 525 individual firms from five continents.

The global call for interest was designed to encourage Australian as well as leading international practices – a condition of the competition is partnership with an Australian practice at stage two.

The majority of applicants, over a third, are led by Australian practices. Of the rest, over a fifth of entrants came from North America; just under a quarter from mainland Europe; a tenth from Asia (with a strong showing by Japan); and less than a tenth from the United Kingdom. Architects from as far away as Afghanistan, Iran, Scandinavia and China applied to be considered.

From these initial submissions a shortlist of up to six teams will now be selected by a panel chaired by jury chair Michael Lynch AO CBE. The finalists, to be announced in mid-December, will then go on to create concept designs.

A new landmark on Adelaide’s celebrated North Terrace boulevard, Adelaide Contemporary will combine a contemporary art gallery with a public sculpture park and meeting place. The initiative will be a focus for the city’s cultural energies and create an accessible community meeting place, integrating art, education, nature and people.

Adelaide Contemporary’s world-first Gallery of Time will draw from the State’s collection to place Aboriginal art and culture in conversation with work from European and Asian cultures.

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

‘We are delighted by the response to the competition – it demonstrates the faith shown in the process and this inspirational project.
‘Arts South Australia’s aim is to identify an outstanding team for what will be a unique art destination within Australia. We appreciate the interest shown by architects both within Australia and across the world – this is literally a world of choices – and for the selection panel choosing the shortlist will be both daunting and very exciting.
‘The quality of teams, of talent, is exceptionally high and includes Pritzker laureates – architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel prize – as well as Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medallists. But ultimately, teams will be selected on the quality of their submission, their intellectual and aesthetic connection to the project.
‘It is heartening to see Australian architects embracing the two stage competition process – this is widely welcomed by the architecture profession in Europe and North America and compliant with international procurement standards – but it is less familiar in Australia.
‘An open process, which treats all competitors equally and avoids the waste of a one stage design contest, the two-stage approach also meets South Australian major projects procurement requirements.’

At stage two shortlisted teams will need to include an Australian registered architect; the teams will receive an honorarium of AU$90,000 for their competition work including their concept design. The competition brief embraces South Australia’s Industry Participation Policy, to ensure that maximum economic activity is generated locally from project conception through to delivery; and to provide new opportunities for local producers, entrepreneurs and businesses.

The competition will inform the finalisation of a business case and funding approval by the Government of South Australia following the brief development phase.

Adelaide is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and the project site – part of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site – and its surroundings are rich in Kaurna heritage.

The former Royal Adelaide Hospital site, close to the historic Adelaide Botanic Garden and to the acclaimed Art Gallery of South Australia, will undergo a transformation into an innovative, mixed-use contemporary urban quarter, led by Renewal SA, the Government of South Australia’s regeneration agency. Adelaide Contemporary is a key element in the emerging vision.

For further updates please visit the competition website.

The shortlist and competition jury will be announced next month and a public exhibition of the shortlisted teams’ concept designs will be held in Adelaide prior to the jury meeting in May 2018. The designs will also be available to view on the competition website. The public will be able to give feedback, and stakeholders will be invited by Arts South Australia to provide their response.

The winner announcement is anticipated to be in early to mid-June 2018.