Only three weeks after a star-studded shortlist of architects for the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition was revealed, arts organization Arts South Australia and competition organizers Malcolm Reading Consultants have chosen the Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Woods Bagot team. The winning plan for the new art gallery and accompanying sculpture park will create a new cultural anchor for the state of South Australia.

In their winning scheme, DS+R and Australian firm Woods Bagot have envisioned a dramatically inclined art space for Adelaide’s North Terrace. The arts center will rise on the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, and in the brief, teams were asked to design dynamic, but people-friendly, spaces.

The team has designed what they call a “charismatic soft beacon” meant to reflect the sky during the day, and glow from the gallery spaces at night, creating an open and inviting atmosphere. The Adelaide Contemporary will include a sunken performance lab with multiple tiers, a “Super Lobby”, floating top-floor galleries, and a rooftop garden that will hang down into the upper levels’ gallery space.

The second-story of the art center will cantilever over a public gathering space and outdoor art gallery. (Courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot)

The entire building is a mixture of purpose-driven spaces with unique massings and heights, with programming inherently baked into each room’s layout, but its most unique feature is how most of the building will cantilever over the outdoor gallery spaces and public square.

By virtue of the competition guidelines, all of the submitted proposals drew from vernacular Aboriginal art and culture, as well as the history and traditions of Adelaide.

“The design foregrounds South Australia’s exceptional collections and capitalises on the momentum of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s recent successes in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture,” said Michael Lynch, chair of the jury and the Art Gallery of South Australia Board’s Special Advisor.

“The jury was impressed by the winning team’s assured understanding of the future of art, performance and 21st-century programming, as well as its flair for placemaking.”

DS+R and Woods Bagot beat out 107 teams from around the world (from over 500 individual firms), including proposals from studios like David Chipperfield, BIG, Adjaye Associates, and SO-IL. A full list of the received proposals, and views of their submissions, can be viewed here. The full biographies for all nine jury members can be viewed here. No cost estimate or completion date for the project has been released at the time of writing.

Related Stories