Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot win design competition for Adelaide Contemporary art museum
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Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot win design competition for Adelaide Contemporary art museum

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A design team led by US studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Australian architects Woods Bagot has won the international design competition for the Adelaide Contemporary art museum.

Intended to revitalise the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital (oRAH), the attraction will be a sister museum to the Art Gallery of South Australia, combining exhibition, research and education spaces with a public sculpture park and community meeting place. It is envisaged as one of the most significant new arts initiatives of 21st-century Australia, providing a national focal point for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultures.

The winning concept design has been chosen for “reconciling the brief for a dynamic people-friendly new place with a skilfully-organised gallery, while also incorporating a performance lab, a dramatic ‘Super Lobby’, floating top-floor sky galleries and a suspended rooftop garden.”

The latter, inspired by ‘Minkunthi’, the Kaurna word ‘to relax’, will display the planting of a pre-colonised South Australian landscape, linking the idea of the contemporary to Kaurna ecological and cultural history.

In their presentation, the design team revealed their plans to create “a charismatic soft beacon that will reflect the sky by day and, at night, glow with galleries – allowing visitors to glimpse the art collection as they pass the building outside formal opening hours, and so giving the art back to the city.”

The seven-month competition attracted submissions from 107 teams made up of circa 525 individual firms from five continents. The runners-up included BIG, Adjaye Associates and David Chipperfield Architects.

Jury chair Michael Lynch said: “The winning team’s concept design responds to this once-in-a-generation opportunity for a landmark building in the heart of the city, positioned on the edge of the Botanic Garden. In a city famous for its festivals, the design creates a new place that embraces art in all of its forms and appeals to a broad audience, both local and international.”

Diller Scofidio +Renfro are best-known for cultural and leisure projects including the High Line in New York, The Broad in LA and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

They are currently working on a new home for Brazil’s 50-year-old Museum of Image and Sound (MIS) in Rio; a Centre for Music in the City of London; a museum in Colorado Springs dedicated to the Olympic movement; a 250 hectare eco-tourism hub for Haikou Bay in China’s Hainan province; a multi-year expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and configurable cultural centre The Shed in the same city’s burgeoning Hudson Yards district.

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A design team led by US studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Australian architects Woods Bagot has won the international design competition for the Adelaide Contemporary art museum.
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