Tonsley Main Assembly Building and Pods, part of an urban redevelopment in Adelaide, is one of 15 projects on exhibition in the Australian Pavilion at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, where the focus is on urban repair through design.
The Tonsley mixed-use redevelopment is also Australia's first to be awarded the 6 Star Green Star – Communities certification by the Green Building Council of Australia.
The site of the former Mitsubishi car factory, Tonsley has been transformed into a vibrant knowledge precinct supporting clean technologies, sustainable industries, advanced manufacturing, education, and research.
The repurposing of the Main Assembly Building is the work of Woods Bagot in conjunction with Adelaide-based Tridente Architects, while the broader precinct has also just been honoured with the Property Council of Australia's 2018 award for best development innovation.
According to Woods Bagot, the site’s adaptive use saved 90,000 tons of embodied carbon, the equivalent to 25,000 cars being taken off the road, while a four megawatt solar array on the roof produces affordable and sustainable energy for tenants.
While the communications infrastructure provides connected technology as a basis for a Smart Grid Energy system, four urban forests inside the building provide naturally shaded green spaces, cool the air and reduce the sun’s thermal load on the roof
“Rather than follow the typical industrial park approach, which would have had limited value to industry and the wider community, we chose to imagine a thriving community within the significant industrial remains of the Tonsley site,” says Milos Milutinovic, project leader for Woods Bagot.
Bringing together leading research and education institutions, established businesses and start-ups, as well as government and community groups, Tonsley will one day be home to around 1,200 residents in 850 dwellings. More than 70 businesses already operate from this technology test-bed.
"A critical issue of contemporary culture and the architectural profession is the role architecture can play in repairing the built environment and giving new life to tired places for great community benefit," said Woods Bagot director Thomas Masullo. "It's a great honour to present Tonsley on the world stage, and to advocate for the relevance of architecture, particularly in re-thinking the design of our cities, public places and buildings for a viable future."
In Venice, the Tonsley Main Assembly Building features in an experiential video series, titled Ground and part of the REPAIR exhibit, showcasing 15 Australian projects that exemplify various approaches to repairing the natural environment.
The projects are displayed on five-metre-high screens within the Australian Pavilion.