The Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition was a global search for an outstanding design team to create a new cultural destination for Australia.

Eclectic, curious, free-thinking and sociable – Adelaide Contemporary will show art from around the world alongside the Government of South Australia’s peerless collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art. The new gallery and sculpture park will benefit from a strategic site on North Terrace, the city’s historic cultural and educational avenue.

Located on the traditional country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains, Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is founded on progressive values. Famously known as the city of festivals, Adelaide has developed a culture that prizes engagement and participation.

With this culture at its heart, Adelaide Contemporary will be ‘uniquely Adelaide’, extending the concept of an art destination by combining a public art sculpture park, a contemporary art gallery and an accessible community meeting place. It will integrate art, education, nature and people. Adelaide Contemporary’s unique curatorial signature will be shown in the pioneering Gallery of Time, which will curate the State’s collection of Aboriginal art and present Indigenous Australian art and culture alongside work by Asian and European artists.

Sponsored by the Government of South Australia through the agency of Arts South Australia for the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Contemporary is intended to act as a catalyst for change, raising Adelaide’s profile as a creative city and, through tourism and business investment, creating new jobs.

Adelaide Contemporary will make a new place within the city, respectful of Adelaide’s rich heritage and diverse cultures, foregrounding a gallery and sculpture park that together make a confident landmark for Adelaide.

To realise this ambitious project, Arts South Australia was looking for a team that could create a unique and exemplary art destination that is memorable and inviting, as well as being physically and emotionally woven into the place and community. Adelaide Contemporary should 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 total estimated project budget is up to AU$250m, which is subject to finalisation of a business case and final funding approval by the Government of South Australia following the Brief Development Phase.

This two-stage international competition initially sought architect-led creative teams with an open call for Expressions of Interest. Competitors were asked 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. This first stage closed on Friday 24 November 2017.

Following this, the Shortlisting Panel selected six teams to develop a concept design at the second stage. These concept designs can be viewed here.

Each team was required to include an Australian registered architect at stage two. Following the conclusion of the competition, each team received an honorarium of AU$90,000.

The jury met in May 2018 to interview the shortlist and selected the team led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot as the winner of the competition.