Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition launches

New art destination will showcase exceptional collection of international and Australian, including Aboriginal, art

Launch Release Image Lr
Left to right: Façade of SAHMRI © Sam Noonan; Del Kathryn Barton, RED, 2016; North Terrace © John Gollings; Kulata Tjuta Project, 2017
  • Two-stage competition seeks outstanding design team for new Adelaide landmark
  • Prominent site on Adelaide’s celebrated North Terrace boulevard is adjacent to the historic Adelaide Botanic Garden and close to the Art Gallery of South Australia
  • 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
  • Competition is open to international and Australian architects – with a requirement for international practices to link with Australian firms at Stage Two
  • Stage Two honorarium of AU$90,000 for each of up to six teams
  • First stage deadline: 21:30 ACDT / 11:00 GMT Friday 24 November 2017

The Government of South Australia through Arts South Australia and Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) today [19 October 2017] launched the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition.

This is a global search for a design team for a unique art destination within Australia. Combining a contemporary art gallery with a public sculpture park and meeting place, Adelaide Contemporary will be ‘uniquely Adelaide’, a focus for the cultural energies of this ‘City of Festivals’, which is known for a progressive culture that prizes engagement and participation.

A new landmark on the city’s celebrated North Terrace boulevard, Adelaide Contemporary will benefit from a site adjacent to the historic Adelaide Botanic Garden and close to the acclaimed Art Gallery of South Australia. The initiative will combine new public and cultural features, creating an accessible community meeting place and integrating art, education, nature and people.

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 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.

Adelaide Contemporary’s unique curatorial signature will be shown in its Gallery of Time, which will curate the State’s exceptional collection of Aboriginal art and present Indigenous Australian art and culture alongside work by Asian and European artists.

Full details of the competition, including the Competition Conditions and how to enter, can be found on the competition website.

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

‘The global search for a high calibre innovative design team to drive this project forward is an exciting first step in a cultural project that aspires to transform the way we look at ourselves.
‘The resulting design concept will form the basis for a business case to Government on the future of an inspiring arts and cultural project to enliven the east end of Adelaide and integrate the former Royal Adelaide Hospital with the Botanic Garden.’

Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, said:

‘South Australia’s rich cultural heritage and its enthusiasm for innovation are the inspiration behind Adelaide Contemporary. This new cultural destination will house a peerless collection of which only a fraction is currently on public display. Adelaide Contemporary’s unique curatorial signature will enable visitors to look at Australian art in a global context.
‘In attracting new audiences and in stimulating wider cultural and economic activity, Adelaide Contemporary has the potential to define this forward-looking city for the coming decades.
‘We are very open-minded about the kind of design team we seek but they need to respond with dedication and enthusiasm to our brief – creating an exemplary art destination that is immediately memorable and inviting and that is physically and emotionally woven into the place and community.’

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

‘Adelaide Contemporary will make a new place within the city, respectful of Adelaide’s rich heritage and diverse cultures, but giving a powerful boost to its creative economy. Adelaide has huge potential as an innovative city and Adelaide Contemporary will be its guiding star.’

Adelaide Contemporary will exemplify sustainable principles and demonstrate environmentally-aware and future-facing design. The core scheme is approximately 15,000m2 in size, but will need to be scalable.

The new art destination aims to engage and educate families and children through thematic narratives that will activate the entire Art Gallery collection – an outcome unrivalled in most internationally-renowned museums and galleries.

New gallery, education and research, and public engagement spaces will enable the commissioning of internationally-significant installations; and major ‘blockbuster’ temporary exhibitions will raise Adelaide’s profile. Adelaide Contemporary will expand the conventions of an art gallery to include film, performance and design. The overall ambition is to locate the gallery at the core of the cultural life of South Australians.

This two-stage international competition will seek architect-led creative teams with an initial open call for Expressions of Interest. Following this, up to six teams will be selected to develop a concept design at the second stage. These teams will need to include an architect registered with the Australian Institute of Architects. An honorarium of AU$90,000 will be paid to each of the shortlisted teams at Stage Two.

To enter, competitors will need to read the Competition Conditions, fill out the online form and upload documents detailing their company information, proposed team composition and relevant experience, and project understanding and approach. The deadline for responses is 21:30 ACDT / 11:00 GMT Friday 24 November 2017.

An international jury (full details to be announced later in the process) will be chaired by eminent arts administrator Michael Lynch AO CBE, former Chief Executive of the Sydney Opera House, former Chief Executive of the Southbank Centre in London and former Chief Executive of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong.

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.