The proposed multi-use tower development rising from the rear of the historic Freemasons Hall at 254 North Terrace in Adelaide could well become the city’s tallest public building. A report on the proposed development is currently being considered by Freemasons in South Australia and Northern Territory.
Designed by local architect Walter Brooke and Bara Consulting Group, the proposed tower will have 33-plus levels and will house a mix of commercial space, restaurant, hotel and student accommodation. Several design renders of the building included in the 96-page report ‘Project Cerberus’ suggest a sleek, pillar design inspired by the ancient proportion and principle of ‘Entasis’.
The existing Freemasons Hall designed by Freemason William H. Harral and John Quinton Bruce and built in 1927 was one of the most prominent buildings of its time on North Terrace, and was entered into the South Australian Heritage Register in 1984.
According to the report, the $120-million project has drawn strong interest particularly from prominent hotel brands wanting to establish a local presence with plans for 200 hotel rooms.
“Should the development option in the report get the green light from the Brethren, the tapered tower design would capture the beauty of the original Freemasons building and would be an amazing addition to the Adelaide skyline,” the property trust chairman Henry Davis said.
Project consultant Michael Baragwanath said: “Our work has been focused on the delivery of a viable development and a detailed investigation of the alternatives. North Terrace is our State’s cultural boulevard, its proximity to the University of Adelaide, to Lot 14 and Rundle Street lends itself to a multi-purpose building with a strong focus on public use.”
“Multi-functional building design is a modern concept where tall buildings are designed around the idea of an ecosystem, not a single function. Our early discussions with leading hotel brands have generated significant interest. In addition, strong domestic demand and rising wealth in the Indo-Pacific region also continues to create a growing need for student accommodation in the Adelaide market.”
Two floors in the proposed development will be reserved for commercial tenants and designed as the most exclusive office address in town along with a 160m-high public restaurant and viewing platform to create a must-visit destination in South Australia.
Discussions are also on with the History Trust of South Australia to transform four floors of the heritage-listed Freemasons Hall into the recently proposed Adelaide Museum of South Australia’s History (AMoSAH).
The grand entry experience of the original North Terrace building would flow through to the public hall at the rear, with the new tower providing a transition from old to new in a way that highlights the benefits of both architectural elements.
Grand Master David Booker said: “Freemasonry must retain a visible and active role in the community, and this is a unique opportunity to control our future into the next century by generating an estimated $6.5 million per year that can be reinvested into preserving heritage in regional and suburban lodges across South Australia and the Northern Territory and offsetting the significant annual maintenance costs of Freemason’s Hall.”
The proposal is currently being considered by the Brethren ahead of a formal vote on the findings and recommendations made for the future of the spiritual site of the Freemasons in July/August.