Adelaide Contemporary, Adelaide, Australia
In collaboration with Hassell Melbourne, we envisioned a new kind of institution for Adelaide Contemporary in South-Wales, Australia. Beyond providing South Australia with a state-of-the-art facility for exhibiting art, Adelaide Contemporary anticipates, responds to, and evolves with the increasing importance and expanded presence of art in our public domain.
The architecture we propose for the institution hosts both the formal and the informal; the everyday and the exceptional. In our proposal, art can be seen and touched everywhere, well beyond the galleries: in the public plaza, along the artwalk, on the rooftop, and in the sculpture garden. Since the environment informs how art is perceived, the galleries are structured not as isolated boxes, but intentionally interconnected, with nature surrounding them and the cosmic space that defines so much of the Aboriginal culture.
Taking cues from the spatial intelligence of the Aboriginal people of Australia and the native landscape, the circulation throughout the building and the site is akin to that of walking on the plains. Visitors are afforded a new vista whenever a turn is taken, alternating from the horizon in the distance and the more close-up features of the land. The patterns of the plaza and roofscape invoke the fluidity and natural beauty of Australian nature.
Also inspired by the unique festivals Adelaide hosts, the building is lifted and light, covered with a delightful roof structure that establishes a bold icon for the city. Practically, the building also offers multiple public amenities on its ground that equip it to be one of the main hosting sites during city festivals. It is a building both timeless and specific to its place. Between the pauses of art, the breathing persistence of nature, and the ebb and flow of people exchanging ideas as the institution matures, the architecture will fulfill its mandate of evolving the future of Adelaide.