• Location

    King William Street, Adelaide

  • Completed

    May 2018

  • Architect


  • Type

    Fitout, Heritage

  • Delivery Type

    Fixed Lump Sum

  • Duration

    10 months

  • Project Manager

    Mott MacDonald

  • Value


Adelaide Festival Centre set to inspire the imagination

Undertaken as part of the Adelaide Festival Centre Precinct Upgrade, the Adelaide Festival Centre (AFC) itself has recently received her first major refurbishment since opening in 1973.

On entry, visitors are greeted with the spatial impact of the high ceilings. As they venture further, the interior offers them a chance to slow down and explore the built space through the building materiality.

Designed by HASSELL, the new space references the structure’s long history by proudly displaying shifts in the building materiality. From raw concrete through to travertine, bronze electroplated metal work, and 3D tiles, the materials convey a sense that the aesthetics, much like the culture of Adelaide, are not static but are more of a journey.

The modern, yet traditional nature of the material palette simultaneously embraces the building’s cultural past while boldly looking forward.

Structural demolition in a heritage site

Our SA team consulted a heritage architect throughout the construction programme to ensure all works were undertaken to the strictest adherence. Heritage aspects of the project included staining the original theatre doors and panelling, as well as refurbishing the exposed concrete columns.

Works began with significant structural demolition, including the removal of existing load bearing walls at the internal level-three foyer. The demolition allowed for internal expansion and an opportunity to create functional spaces that can be acoustically separated for events. Our team also constructed new support structures – including 16-metre concrete beams and pilings – cleverly integrated within architectural elements.

Adelaide Festival Centre concrete beams heritage refurbishment
Adelaide Festival Centre Heritage Refurbishment Lobby

Latent site conditions lead to an accelerated programme

In response to latent site conditions that risked extending the project timeline, our team accelerated the construction programme. Despite additional works increasing by over 70% of the project value, all works were completed within the compressed time frame – meeting the architect’s vision and the client’s milestones.

The accelerated programme was only possible due to our proactive approach and true design collaboration. Our team was committed to providing alternative designed outcomes that brought both cost and time benefits to the client.

A visual and tactile fitout filled with intrigue

The AFC project marries both heritage and existing elements from the original structure with newly constructed, modern aesthetics. The impressive fitout contains fascinating features ‘hidden’ in plain sight.

Peeking from beneath a staircase are curvilinear protrusions sure to draw a curious gaze. Drawing on traditional Australian aesthetics, the AFC’s permanent art collection is proudly displayed on a wall of 3D porcelain Rombini tile; the zigzag surface is visually similar to corrugated sheets. Along the communal milling areas, windows cast linear bands of light across the angular walls, like a theatrical spotlight that moves with the sun. Overall, the new space is a visual and tactile feast filled with intrigue.

The newly redeveloped Adelaide Festival Centre is more than an arts and performance centre. The transformation reaffirms its identity and presence along the riverbank precinct as a significant cultural thread and premier venue in the City of Adelaide.

Proven track record in building upgrades.