South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill officially opened Adelaide Convention Centre's East Building on Wednesday following a $397 million redevelopment.
The upgrade was delivered in two stages, with the first stage –
expanding the centre westwards – completed in March 2015.
The completion of the East building, stage two of the redevelopment, replaced the original Plenary Building built in 1987.
Both stages were delivered by architecture and design firm Woods Bagot, as part of a multi-disciplinary consortium including Lendlease, Aurecon, Bestec and Thinc Projects.
Each building was designed to operate as a standalone facility with its own dedicated entrance or combined to function as one dynamic venue, "entirely connected to the city it serves".
Adjacent to business, cultural, medical research and entertainment precincts, the location of the Centre is positioned to showcase Adelaide’s riverbank and parklands.
Woods Bagot Director Thomas Masullo said the narrative of the new building celebrates a sense of place by creating a memorable guest experience.
“Adelaide’s advantage in the conference and events sphere required a centre that marries the experience of the state with the talent of the city. Together the ensemble of buildings complete a visitor experience that is completely South Australian.”
The stage 2 east building incorporates numerous internal moving parts to maximise the flexibility of the facility and provide many different configurations and sizes of event space. Features include operable walls, two 320-seat rotating auditoriums and hinged, tiered seating that when lifted, reveals a flat floor for exhibitions or banquets.
Engineered and built in Australia, the Centre’s rotating seating drums are a first of their kind in the region.
Adelaide Convention Centre Chief Executive Alec Gilbert said the new buildings will enable the centre to cater and bid for more events and larger events, which in turn will generate significant economic and cultural benefit for South Australia.
The Adelaide Convention Centre has generated around $960 million over the last two decades in economic benefits to South Australia from delegate spend and associated tourism, according to South Australian Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure. It consistently self funds its operations and provides significant annual return to government while becoming a major part of the city’s “postcard image”.
"Our investment in the expansion and renewal of the Adelaide Convention Centre is expected to bring an extra $1.92 billion into the state's economy over the next 25 years," premier Jay Weatherill said.
Woods Bagot Senior Associate Simon Tothill said the design showcases a landscape formed over half a billion years.
“While the West Building was inspired by the dramatic geology and colours of the nearby Flinders Ranges, the weathered organic shape of the new East Building reflects the weathered contours of the Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island.” he said.
The zinc cladding that wraps the form of the East Building was refined in a façade system developed for this project in South Australia. More than 10,000 individually hand-formed zinc tiles cover the building’s exterior, their soft red pigments referencing the rocky outcrops of the regional landscape.
With a concept derived from the cross-section of a South Australian rock that opens to reveal its inner beauty and character, the tactile interior form is in contrast to the smooth, weathered exterior.
The interiors scheme captures the experience of South Australia’s outback region, referencing an orange sunset and sparkling night sky. The latter is showcased by an aerial ‘Starry Night’ backdrop, which is comprised of more than 35,000 twinkling fibre optic lights.
Another highlight of the Centre’s redevelopment is the installation of a dramatic skyway, which connects the venue’s three buildings at an upper level, providing panoramic views of the Riverbank.
Sustainability principles was integrated throughout the design process, with energy management systems combined with state-of-the-art smart LED lighting systems delivering a building with 27 per cent lower energy consumption than the original building.