Adelaide Contemporary shortlisted architects welcomed and full competition jury announced

The six star design teams vying to win the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition were welcomed to Adelaide with an Aboriginal welcome by Kaurna Elder, Frank Wanganeen, earlier this week. Today [23/24 January 2018], Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia and Minister for the Arts, addressed them as they prepared for a site visit and briefing.

On Monday, the architects were offered a formal Welcome to Country, an Aboriginal greeting for newcomers that dates back thousands of years.

Adelaide is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and the project site, close to the Art Gallery of South Australia and part of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site, is rich in Kaurna heritage.

Adelaide Contemporary, a new landmark on Adelaide’s celebrated North Terrace boulevard, next to the Adelaide Botanic Garden, will combine a contemporary art gallery with a public sculpture park. The initiative is key to regeneration agency Renewal SA’s vision to transform the site. It will be a focus for the city’s cultural energies and also include a community meeting place, integrating art, education, nature and people.

The high-profile shortlisted teams, who all include international and Australian collaborations and were announced last month, include: 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); and Khai Liew (Adelaide, Australia), Office of Ryue Nishizawa (Tokyo, Japan) and Durbach Block Jaggers (Sydney, Australia).

The Government of South Australia through Arts South Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia also announced the jury that will interview the teams and select a winner at the jury meeting in May.

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

“We are delighted to announce the full jury, a collegiate group of Australian and international thought-leaders in architecture, landscape, community engagement, curatorial knowledge and project delivery, chaired by Michael Lynch.

“We are grateful for their commitment – such is the quality of the finalist teams that we expect choosing a winner to be a demanding and absorbing process.”

The jury is made up of nine eminent leaders from the arts, architecture, culture and business and includes:

  • Michael Lynch AO CBE (Chair), Chair, Sydney Community Foundation and Chair, Circa
  • Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Deputy Chair, Australia Council for the Arts, Managing Director, L-AB & Associates and Executive, Aboriginal Strategy, South Australian Film Corporation
  • Beatrice Galilee, Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Walter Hood, Creative Director and Founder, Hood Design Studio
  • David Knox, Deputy Chair, Economic Development Board of South Australia and Member, Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation Committee
  • Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia
  • Toshiko Mori, Founder and Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect and Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Sally Smart, Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne and renowned contemporary artist
  • Tracey Whiting, Chair, Art Gallery of South Australia Board

The competition jury will be advised by Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, and fully supported by a panel of technical advisers.

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

“Adelaide is known with great affection as a City of Festivals; it has a progressive culture that prizes engagement and participation, as well as valuing its rich and diverse heritage.

“We are fortunate to hold a peerless collection of international and Australian art, much of which has never gone on public display. Adelaide Contemporary is unprecedented in its ambition to provide a new home for Australian art as well as a new place within the city.

“Adelaide Contemporary will curate the State’s exceptional collection of Aboriginal art and present Indigenous Australian art and culture alongside work by Asian and European artists, enabling local, national and international visitors to look at Australian art in a global context.”

These teams now have eleven weeks to devise their concept designs before submitting them to the competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants. Each team will receive an honorarium of AU$90,000 for their competition work including their concept design.

The concept designs will be revealed to the public and stakeholders in April at an exhibition in Adelaide and online. The conditions for Stage Two of the competition have been formally endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.

The competition has attracted worldwide interest with 107 teams made up of circa 525 individual firms applying from five continents to be considered initially.

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.

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

Notes to Editors

Jury Biographies

Jury Biographies are available on the Jury page.

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.