The concept design for the new Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC) was recently released by the South Australian Premier, the Hon Steven Marshall MP.

Designed by the New York-based Diller Scofido + Renfro (DS+R) and Woods Bagot, the 11,500-square-metre building in Adelaide will be built on Kaurna land as part of the Lot Fourteen global innovation precinct.

The deep Aboriginal connection to country, place and kin is the foundation of AACC’s reference design. The design takes inspiration from the temporary shelter structures created by Aboriginal people across Australia.

The striking design, with overlapping layers encircling a central gathering space, embodied the vision of the AACC as a gateway to the oldest living cultures in the world by incorporating the elements of earth, land and sky, the Premier observed.

“The AACC will offer extraordinary immersive experiences, combining traditional storytelling with modern technology, celebrating 65,000 years of Aboriginal cultures and creating a global tourism attraction,” he said.

The design vision came from extensive discussions between the collaborative design team of DS+R and Woods Bagot, AACC ambassador, David Rathman AM and members of the AACC Aboriginal Reference Group.

Describing the AACC as a new paradigm in cultural space design, DS+R partner Charles Renfro said: “We’re thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking vision to create a place of pride that authentically honours the oldest living cultures on the planet. This first-of-its-kind project has taken on a new life with our continued collaboration with the Aboriginal community and other stakeholder groups, as well as our Australian design partner Woods Bagot.

“The AACC will welcome visitors through a radically open ground floor, into a safe space with storytelling at its heart. It will be a building of the 21st century, while remaining agile enough to allow future generations to evolve their own storytelling,” Renfro said.

Woods Bagot principal Rosina Di Maria found the consultation process to be a humbling and emotional experience.

“The design team’s role was to listen, and translate the aspirations and ambitions of the ARG into a design response. The architecture evokes a sense of welcome to all visitors – particularly First Nations peoples – and a connection to culture offered through the human experience,” Di Maria said.

“The Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre will be a place for all Australians to remember ourselves, to learn the truth telling of our past, and to re-imagine ourselves together to create new memories as a connected community. It will be a platform for developing Australian culture – informed by the past, shaped by the now, for our future,” she added.

Concept design: Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot.