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Mon May 10 2021

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Adelaide design contest attracts global response

4 Dec 17 Teams representing 525 individual firms from five continents have submitted responses to an international design competition for an art gallery in the Australian city of Adelaide.

image by John Gollings
image by John Gollings

The competition, which is organised by UK-based Malcolm Reading Consultants, has attracted 107 teams.

Adelaide Contemporary will combine a contemporary art gallery with a public sculpture park and meeting place. Its ‘Gallery of Time’ will draw from the state’s collection to place Aboriginal art and culture in conversation with work from European and Asian cultures.

The global call for interest for the Adelaide Contemporary Design Competition 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.

The majority of applicants, over a third, are led by Australian practices. Of the rest, over a fifth of entrants came from North America; just under a quarter from mainland Europe; a tenth from Asia (with a strong showing by Japan); and less than a tenth from the United Kingdom. Architects from as far away as Afghanistan, Iran, Scandinavia and China have applied to be considered.

From these initial submissions a shortlist of up to six teams will now be selected by a panel chaired by jury chair Michael Lynch.  The finalists, to be announced in mid-December, will then go on to create concept designs.

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Competition director Malcolm Reading said: “We are delighted by the response to the competition – it demonstrates the faith shown in the process and this inspirational project.

“Arts South Australia’s aim is to identify an outstanding team for what will be a unique art destination within Australia.  We appreciate the interest shown by architects both within Australia and across the world – this is literally a world of choices – and for the selection panel choosing the shortlist will be both daunting and very exciting.

“The quality of teams, of talent, is exceptionally high and includes Pritzker laureates – architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel prize – as well as Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medallists. But ultimately, teams will be selected on the quality of their submission, their intellectual and aesthetic connection to the project.

“It is heartening to see Australian architects embracing the two-stage competition process – this is widely welcomed by the architecture profession in Europe and North America and compliant with international procurement standards – but it is less familiar in Australia.

“An open process, which treats all competitors equally and avoids the waste of a one stage design contest, the two-stage approach also meets South Australian major projects procurement requirements.”

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