Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition Coming Soon

Competition to launch in October – MRC appointed to manage the process

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The Government of South Australia is commissioning an international search for a world-class team to design the much-anticipated Adelaide Contemporary – a second site for the acclaimed Art Gallery of South Australia.

Adelaide Contemporary will be a new landmark on the city’s celebrated North Terrace boulevard adjacent to the historic Botanic Garden and close to the parent Gallery.

A unique destination within Australia, Adelaide Contemporary will combine new public and cultural features, creating an accessible community meeting place; integrating art, education, nature and people. The initiative offers the opportunity to strengthen North Terrace’s identity as Adelaide’s creative precinct and expand it eastwards to create a continuous public realm.

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

Celebrating South Australia’s rich cultural heritage along with its enthusiasm for innovation, Adelaide Contemporary is intended to act as a catalyst for change, using cultural activity to give Adelaide renewed presence nationally and internationally and generate new economic energies.

The brief will embrace South Australia’s Industry Participation Policy, to ensure that maximum economic activity is generated locally from project conception through to delivery; and provide new opportunities for local producers, entrepreneurs and businesses.

London-based competition specialist Malcolm Reading Consultants, responsible for a number of high-level international searches such as those for the V&A London, Mumbai City Museum and the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, has been appointed to run the international design competition.

The two-stage competition will seek architect-led teams with an initial open global call for Expressions of Interest. Up to six teams will be selected to develop a concept design at the second stage and will need to include an Australian-registered architect, in accordance with the guidelines of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). A generous honorarium will be offered at Stage Two. The competition jury will be chaired by eminent Australian arts figure Michael Lynch AO CBE.

Interested architects can now sign up to receive notification of launch on the competition website’s holding page at

Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia and Minister for the Arts, said:

‘The search for a team to drive this project forward is an exciting first step in what will be a game-changer for our state.
‘To have an inspiring arts and cultural landmark will not only enliven public spaces and draw people into the Botanic Garden and Parklands; it will help build confidence in our ability to be a global innovator in this space.
‘Adelaide Contemporary will consolidate our reputation as an arts and cultural leader and generate a significant boost to local jobs, tourism and the economy.’

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

‘Preparations for the two-stage open competition are well-advanced and this promises to be a key project for the city.
‘Poised between the Southern Ocean and the Outback, Adelaide is one of the most fascinating cities in Australia, and Adelaide Contemporary will be a new cultural and tourist drawcard for the city and South Australia.
‘We will be looking for architects with outstanding creativity and connection with the project and will warmly welcome both global and Australian designers.’

The mission of the Art Gallery of South Australia is to serve South Australian and wider communities by providing access to original works of art of the highest quality. Through the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, publications, education and public programmes, the Gallery seeks to become part of the daily life of Australians – to champion art, artists and ideas.

A specialist in architectural competitions for museums and arts, heritage and non-profit organisations, the UK-based Malcolm Reading Consultants has directed competitions in London for the just-opened Exhibition Road Quarter at the V&A; the Illuminated River; and the Royal College of Art; and is currently running one for the UK Holocaust Memorial. International projects include the competitions for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art; Mumbai City Museum; and the gold medal-winning UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015, among many others.

The consultancy’s role will include devising the competition materials and messages, liaising with stakeholders including the Australian Institute of Architects, and ensuring absolute independence in the competition process.