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Competition launched for £150m Adelaide Contemporary art gallery

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Art Gallery of South Australia is holding an international contest to design a landmark contemporary art gallery in Adelaide

The two-stage contest, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, will select a team for the Adelaide Contemporary, a 15,000m2 offshoot of the city’s world-famous Art Gallery of South Australia.

The estimated £150 million project will create a landmark destination for contemporary art on the city’s North Terrace boulevard, close to the parent gallery and botanic gardens. An outdoor sculpture park and a Gallery of Time exploring Aboriginal, European and Asian art and culture will also be included.

Jay Weatherill, premier of South Australia and minister for the arts, said: ‘The global search for a high-calibre innovative design team to drive this project forward is an exciting first step in a cultural project that aspires to transform the way we look at ourselves.

‘The resulting design concept will form the basis for a business case to government on the future of an inspiring arts and cultural project to enliven the east end of Adelaide and integrate the former Royal Adelaide Hospital with the Botanic Garden.’

Art Gallery of South Australia director Nick Mitzevich said: ‘South Australia’s rich cultural heritage and its enthusiasm for innovation are the inspiration behind Adelaide Contemporary. This new cultural destination will house a peerless collection of which only a fraction is currently on public display. Adelaide Contemporary’s unique curatorial signature will enable visitors to look at Australian art in a global context.

‘In attracting new audiences and in stimulating wider cultural and economic activity, Adelaide Contemporary has the potential to define this forward-looking city for the coming decades.

‘We are very open-minded about the kind of design team we seek but they need to respond with dedication and enthusiasm to our brief – creating an exemplary art destination that is immediately memorable and inviting and that is physically and emotionally woven into the place and community.’

Malcolm Reading, competition director, said: ‘Adelaide Contemporary will make a new place within the city, respectful of Adelaide’s rich heritage and diverse cultures, but giving a powerful boost to its creative economy. Adelaide has huge potential as an innovative city and Adelaide Contemporary will be its guiding star.’

The project aims to deliver an ‘accessible community meeting place’ and international destination focusing on art, education, nature and people.

The new building will be constructed on the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, which is on the traditional lands of the region’s indigenous Kaurna people.

The surrounding area is considered rich in Kaurna heritage, and the competition brief encourages the participation of local producers, entrepreneurs and businesses.

Six shortlisted teams will be invited to develop concept designs following an initial open call for expressions of interest.

Stage two bidders will receive around £54,000 each and will need to include an Australian-registered architect in their teams.

The jury will be chaired by Australian arts supremo Michael Lynch. The deadline for applications is 11am GMT on 24 November.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Oliver Finn
Malcolm Reading Consultants
8 Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Email: adelaidecontemporary@malcolmreading.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)207 831 2998 


Q&A: Nick Mitzevich

Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia

Nick Mitzevich

Nick Mitzevich

Source: Image by Sven Kovac

Nick Mitzevich

Why are you holding a competition for a new Adelaide Contemporary?

An international competition is a highly-effective method for seeking out an outstanding design team – one with the passion, energy and skill to deliver such a prestigious project. Adelaide Contemporary will create a new cultural destination of global significance: it will raise the profile of Adelaide on the world stage and provide a home for an internationally-regarded collection of European, Asian and Australian art.

Adelaide is proud of its progressive traditions and culture of participation, and this competition is also a statement of our values. This open, global search is a commitment to recognise and reward talent, allowing the design and team that are right for the project to prove themselves and win us over.

What is your vision for the new museum?

Adelaide Contemporary will benefit from a prominent site on Adelaide’s cultural boulevard, adjacent to the historic Adelaide Botanic Garden and close to the Art Gallery of South Australia. It will play a key role in the development of this vibrant, creative and progressive city, and is a highlight of the redevelopment of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site.

Our vision for the project comprises a contemporary art gallery with exemplary public and community engagement spaces, set within an outstanding public realm incorporating a sculpture park.

The unique curatorial signature for Adelaide Contemporary is the Gallery of Time, which will place Aboriginal art and culture alongside works from European and Asian artists. This provides a new model for viewing and engaging with art, without precedent either in Australia or internationally.

This bold vision deserves architecture to match. We know what we want Adelaide Contemporary to do – we are now asking designers to convince us that they can deliver it.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The competition is designed to appeal to the widest spectrum of talent, from seasoned practices to those eager to make their name. One of our core aims is to nurture home-grown talent, so shortlisted teams will need to include an architect registered with the Australian Institute of Architects, but we welcome participation from around the world. Creative collaborations between emerging and established practices, between local and international firms, and across design disciplines are all encouraged.

The competition’s first stage is an open call for participation and requires no design work. It is seeking a demonstration of qualifications: company information, an explanation behind the proposed composition of your team, your relevant experience, and your project understanding and approach. Teams will need to enter through the competition website before the 24 November deadline.

Teams shortlisted for the second stage will produce design concepts for this significant international project, each receiving a generous honorarium of AU$90,000.


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