Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition shortlist announced

The Government of South Australia through Arts South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia and Malcolm Reading Consultants revealed today [14/13 December 2017] the six teams shortlisted for the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition.

Finalist teams will now receive a further briefing and create concept designs that will be revealed to the public and stakeholders in an exhibition in April in Adelaide, and online, before the competition jury meets in May 2018.

The architect-led teams were the unanimous choice of a selection panel that included representatives of Arts South Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Office for Design and Architecture South Australia, and which was chaired by the competition jury chair Michael Lynch AO CBE. The teams (joint partnerships in alphabetical order by lead consultant with full details in Notes below) are:

  • Adjaye Associates (London, UK) and BVN (Sydney, Australia)
  • BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen, Denmark) and JPE Design Studio (Adelaide, Australia)
  • David Chipperfield Architects (London, UK) and SJB Architects (Sydney, Australia)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA) and Woods Bagot (Adelaide, Australia)
  • HASSELL (Melbourne, Australia) and SO-IL (New York, USA)
  • Khai Liew (Adelaide, Australia), Office of Ryue Nishizawa (Tokyo, Japan) and Durbach Block Jaggers (Sydney, Australia)

The conditions for Stage Two of the competition have been formally endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects. The full competition jury is currently being confirmed, and will be announced in early 2018.

The first stage of the competition 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, which has already been fulfilled by the shortlisted teams.

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.

Peter Louca, Executive Director, Arts South Australia, said:

“The global interest in the competition is a vote of confidence in Adelaide Contemporary and a heartening indication of Adelaide’s standing worldwide.

“The selection panel had the toughest call – to sift just six teams from a very strong field.”

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

“This is an extraordinarily rich list of diverse creative partnerships of architects looking to complement their talents by working with both peers and smaller talented practices. The final decision was very demanding but these are the teams that convinced us through the outstanding quality of their submissions.

“There is a strong thread of Australian professional expertise running through the entire list with Australians taking both equal and collaborative positions.

“The six teams all showed a strong connection with Adelaide – and understood that our aim is not to create an off-the-peg architectural icon but a piece of Adelaide, an entity that will be sustainable and polymathic in the way it enhances the social, cultural and architectural fabric of the city.”

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

“It is inspiring to see how architects have taken collaboration to heart. If there is any sure route to creating today’s sophisticated cultural buildings then it is by selecting a team that prizes flair and cooperation.

“We are extremely grateful to all those who entered the competition and hope the experience will help them in their future practice.

“Now we look to stage two of the competition and the brief for this unique art destination, which asks for a memorable building, physically and emotionally woven into the place and community. The teams have sixteen weeks to produce their designs and these will go on show to the public in April 2018.”

A site visit for the finalists will be held in January and the teams will have until early April 2018 to produce their concept designs. Each team 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.

Details of the public exhibition will follow in April 2018. The winner announcement is anticipated to be in early to mid-June 2018.

Notes to Editors

Full Details of Shortlisted Teams (in alphabetical order by lead consultant):

  • Adjaye Associates and BVN with Steensen Varming, McGregor Coxall, Barbara Flynn and Yvonne Koolmatrie
  • BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and JPE Design Studio with United Natures, Arketype and BuildSurv
  • David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects with Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture and Arup
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot with Oculus, Pentagram, Katnich Dodd, Rider Levett Bucknall, Arup, WSP, Deloitte, Kaldor Public Art Projects, Klynton Wanganeen, James Sanders, Dustin Yellin, Right Angle Studio and Garry Stewart
  • HASSELL and SO-IL with Fabio Ongarato Design, Mosbach Paysagistes and Fiona Hall
  • Khai Liew, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers with Masako Yamazaki, Mark Richardson, Arup and Irma Boom

Team Profiles (as supplied by teams):

Adjaye Associates and BVN

Adjaye Associates was established in June 2000 by founder and principal Sir David Adjaye OBE. The firm has offices in London and New York and has completed work on four continents. Two of the practice’s largest commissions to date are the design of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington D.C. and the Moscow School of Management (SKOLKOVO). Projects range in scale from private houses, exhibitions, and temporary pavilions to major art centres, civic buildings, and masterplans. Renowned for an eclectic material and colour palette and a capacity to offer a rich civic experience, the buildings differ in form and style, yet are unified by their ability to generate new typologies and to reference a wide cultural discourse.

For Adelaide Contemporary, Adjaye Associates will be collaborating with BVN, Steensen Varming, McGregor Coxall, art adviser Barbara Flynn and artist Yvonne Koolmatrie.

BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and JPE Design Studio

For over a decade, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group has been building a reputation as one of the most creative and intelligent architecture offices in the world, working for major institutions such as the Smithsonian and companies such as Google, and with over 400 employees based in Copenhagen, New York and London.

BIG’s buildings have been successful on many levels, winning prestigious international awards for architecture, landscape, and urban design. Significant projects include the recently unveiled LEGO House in Billund and Tirpitz, a museum placed in a relic WWII bunker within the protected coastal landscape of western Denmark.

BIG has joined forces with JPE Design Studio to offer a compelling local/global partnership to Adelaide Contemporary. JPE Design Studio is a multi-disciplinary design practice based in Adelaide that undertakes projects across a range of sectors such as the near-completion Pridham Hall for UniSA.

David Chipperfield Architects and SJB Architects

With four offices across the world – in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai – David Chipperfield Architects has developed a critically acclaimed body of work with a particular interest in cultural and civic buildings. Within the portfolio of galleries and museums, projects range from the Museo Jumex in Mexico City, which has created a vibrant new public realm, to the revitalised Neues Museum in Berlin, a major site set within a culturally and historically sensitive context.

For the Adelaide Contemporary project, David Chipperfield Architects has partnered with SJB Architects and will be establishing a studio in Adelaide.

SJB Architects has built a reputation as an astute collection of experts who respond sensitively to the urban fabric of cities and regions, combining knowledge and experience with creative design solutions. Their significant contribution to the built environment in Australia revitalises space and supports new community.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot

The team of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Woods Bagot has been shortlisted to design the new Adelaide Contemporary. Combining their significant experience delivering civic and cultural projects around the world, this collaboration will result in a premier arts destination for Adelaide where Woods Bagot was founded.

DS+R’s work includes the adaptive reuse of an obsolete, industrial rail infrastructure into the High Line, a 1.5 mile-long public park; the Broad contemporary art museum in Los Angeles; The Shed, New York’s first multi-arts centre; and the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

Woods Bagot is synonymous with high profile, award-winning projects in Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East and has delivered worldwide projects for Apple, Google, and other iconic clients including SAHMRI in Adelaide, recognised with notable awards for design, sustainability and innovation.


HASSELL and SO-IL bring together the best of many worlds in Adelaide Contemporary. HASSELL, born out of Adelaide and now a multidisciplinary international design practice, has sustained nearly a century of commitment in delivering distinguished civic projects within and outside Australia.

HASSELL invites SO-IL, one of the most progressive and innovative voices in contemporary architecture, to give shape to the remarkable vision set forth by the project.

SO-IL, based in New York with acclaimed cultural projects spanning Asia, Europe, and North America, in turn extends the invitation to a carefully considered group of individuals and practices including the prominent Australian artist Fiona Hall and the esteemed French landscape architect Catherine Mosbach as critical collaborators. The HASSELL and SO-IL partnership promises a daring architecture proposal for Adelaide Contemporary that is deeply rooted in the heart of the place and its people, while also stretching an outlook beyond the horizon.

Khai Liew, Office of Ryue Nishizawa and Durbach Block Jaggers

The vision for this team was ignited by the sculpture park envisaged for Adelaide Contemporary. A bridge between our living museum, the Botanic Gardens and new contemporary gallery, it reminded me of Nishizawa’s exquisite art museum in Teshima. Threaded into the landscape, this extraordinary project is a delicately woven, complete vision.

Khai Liew’s pairing of the Office of Ryue Nishizawa (OORN) with Durbach Block Jaggers (DBJ) is centred on their artistic approach to buildings and landscapes.  Always bright, poetic and seamless, DBJ’s sensual and gentle approach seemed intuitively aligned with OORN.

Together they combine a lightness of form with a density of design.

Also in the team are landscape architect, Masako Yamazaki; local botanical expert, Mark Richardson; and branding expert, Irma Boom.

“Adelaide needs a symbol and a signal of our cultivated and unique spirit for the new Adelaide Contemporary. I have assembled a team to put that flower in this garden,” said Khai Liew.

Arts South Australia

Arts South Australia is the State Government agency charged with supporting the making of work by South Australian artists, the national and international promotion of South Australian art, and the care of the State’s collections and the buildings and assets that house them.

The State Government recognises and capitalises on economic opportunities arising from the diverse arts and cultural organisations, practitioners, events and physical assets in the State by developing programmes that build on cultural heritage and creativity, and providing financial support to the creative industries.

Arts and cultural development in South Australia is characterised by a diversity of practice and practitioners, unique and historic assets and facilities, world renowned collections and a commitment to arts for all, regardless of geographic location or circumstance.

The Art Gallery of South Australia

The mission of the Art Gallery of South Australia is to serve the 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.

Malcolm Reading Consultants

Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is a strategic consultancy that helps clients to imagine and define contemporary environments, both built and natural. MRC is the leading specialist in devising and managing design competitions internationally. MRC believes in the power of design to create new perceptions and act as an inspiration.

Recent work includes competitions for the Illuminated River Foundation (UK), the M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre  (Lithuania), the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art (Latvia), the Royal College of Art (UK), the V&A (UK), the Mumbai City Museum (India), Gallaudet University (USA), Art Mill (Qatar) and new buildings in the UK for New College, Oxford and Homerton College, Cambridge.