ADELAIDE ROCKS is a new urban quarter. It is an engaging, unexpected, fun, active and multi-layered place built around sound ecological principles and economic sustainability. It will be a significant cultural and civic space that continues and consolidates the North Terrace Boulevard and Riverbank Precinct in Adelaide.
Architect: Tomas Zacek
Team Members: Sona Pohlova, Igor Zacek
The core of the proposal is a massive urban gesture – a hill formed from the debris of demolished buildings that turns waste into a positive, exciting, and unique urban space. The hill provides a strong identity for the place, for the city and the State, and together with a series of embedded functions, creates a unique urban space that is quirky and engaging. A green and vertical landscape that connects the city to the parklands, the hill provides active and passive recreational opportunities not readily available within Adelaide’s CBD. The hill also provides a series of ecological opportunities that are unique. The mass and height of the hill supports the climate control of interior and exterior spaces throughout the site through subsidence cooling, geothermal exchange, heat extraction via a thermal chimney and the storage of cooling energy in a mass cool chamber.
Acknowledging its historical identity, the proposal retains many of the existing buildings along North Terrace and Frome Road, showcasing the built heritage of the site and providing new uses through adaptation. These buildings respond the existing language of cultural institutions and provide a sense of familiarity in contrast to the proposed new vertical landscape beyond.
Characterised by its cultural frontage along North Terrace, the proposal incorporates the Museum of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Contemporary Art Gallery of South Australia, Museum of Adelaide and Aboriginal Gallery. These cultural uses are counterbalanced with university uses and residential accommodation, providing a well-balanced mix of programmes that aims to provide all-day activation to the site.
To the eastern boundary of the site, a landmark mixed-use tower anchors the corner, providing residential accommodation and associated functions as well as ongoing economic impetus and activity. The 23-storey building accommodates public functions on the lower levels including a sport centre in connection with recreational functions of the hill and residential apartments on upper levels. The proposed building is seen as an iconic entry element into the city. It provides a bookend to the development along North Terrace and contributes to the broader city development patterns.
The hill and the proposed buildings along North Terrace and Frome Road are connected through a series of interconnected but clearly articulated plazas of varying dimension and character provide platforms for formal and informal gatherings, events, movement, and repose. They support Adelaide’s festivals and strengthen the East End and cultural boulevard activities.
The vibrancy of public spaces and hill-park are at the core of the proposal. This vibrancy is underpinned by a unique, unexpected and apparently whimsical hill-scape. It signifies the site and becomes a strong reflection of how creative thinking can turn a mundane demolition problem into a positive and unique outcome, contributing to the identity of a creative City and State.