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    Pritzker laureates and AIA medallists vie for Adelaide Contemporary design

    Kirsty Sier

    Architects from as far as Afghanistan, Scandinavia, Iran and North American have submitted concepts to the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition. The competition, launched in October this year by Malcolm Reading Consultants, was conceived to attract international ideas for a landmark contemporary art gallery proposed for Adelaide, alongside a public sculpture park and meeting place.

    “To realise this ambitious project, Arts South Australia is looking for a team that can create a unique and exemplary art destination that is memorable and inviting, as well as being both physically and emotionally woven into the place and community,” said Arts South Australia at the time of the launch. “Adelaide Contemporary should exemplify sustainable principles and demonstrate environmentally aware and future-facing design.” The winning design also needs to be able to accommodate Aboriginal art and culture “in conversation with” work from Europe and Asia.

    As of the close of the submissions portal, over 107 architectural teams – made up of around 525 individuals – from five continents had submitted designs. Over a third of these applications were led by Australian architects.

    For stage two of the competition, this initial list will be narrowed down to a shortlist of up to six teams, selected by a jury panel chaired by Michael Lynch AO CBE. For international applicants, one of the conditions of the competition is partnership with an Australian practice at this second stage.

    “We are delighted by the response to the competition,” says competition director, Malcolm Reading. “It demonstrates the faith shown in the process and [in] 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 [and] their intellectual and aesthetic connection to the project.”

    The shortlist and competition jury are due to be announced next month, followed by a public exhibition of the shortlisted teams’ concept designs. All shortlisted practices will receive an honorarium of AU$90,000 to work through their concept design. At this stage, public feedback will be welcomed and stakeholders invited to contribute their response to Arts South Australia.

    The announcement of the winner of the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition is scheduled for mid-June 2018.

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