Your opinions wanted!!

People's Choice Campaign for Royal Adelaide Hospital Site nears deadline

by Sian 05 December 2013 Urban design
  • Zuzana and Nicholas Click image to expand

    Zuzana and Nicholas

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    A prime site in Adelaide, Australia is due to become vacant in 2016. The site of the Royal Adelaide Hospital provides a principal opportunity for community engagement and will create a large amount of public space close to the Adelaide Zoo, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.

    A design competition (view brief) was launched to generate debate about the future of the site, placing design at the beginning of the redevelopment process rather than at the end. An appointed expert jury has already selected their winner from the six shortlisted entries however the public are being asked to vote for their favourite design in an online poll. The deadline for feedback is fast approaching at 9 December 2013.

    Below are details for each of the six shortlisted proposals:

    Bonhag and de Rosa

    Bonhag and de Rosa have renamed ORAH ‘OpenRAH’ - the open system. The site is declared an urban forum, moulded by the given built fabric and new interventions, and made permeable by covered and uncovered public places. The site will remain over a given timeframe in a state of ‘incompleteness’ with scope for adaptation and future development. The team hopes to stimulate initiative and curiosity by making knowledge and resources available.

    Nice Architects

    ADELAIDE ROCKS is a new urban quarter proposed by Nice Architects. It is an engaging, unexpected, fun, active and multi-layered place. 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 Central Business District.

    The concept centres on a hill formed from the debris of demolished buildings that turns waste into a positive, exciting, and unique urban space. The proposed building is seen as a recognisable entry element into the city. It provides a bookend to the development along North Terrace and contributes to the broader city development patterns.

    Oculus FKA

    Above all, Oculus FKA’s design speaks of Adelaide, a city rich in arts, music, education and innovation. The Heritage Plaza has been sited at the North Terrace level, functioning as a canvas for public events, street artists and passive relaxation as well as a means to allow the heritage buildings to breathe.

    These historic buildings will be re-energised, reverting to an open, permeable civic and landscape setting that not only celebrates the history of the site and the individual buildings, but provides a welcoming entry to this re-generated cultural precinct. Student housing, laneway bars, restaurants, a fresh food market and a bicycle exchange hub will meet everyday desires.


    Slash seek to reintegrate the surrounding city and parklands. In removing accreted parts of building that have clogged the site, the team intend to open up the buildings to be part of an urban system with their own identity and program. The proposal makes a proposition of retention and therefore reduces energy that would be required in new building construction. The primacy of adaptive re-use is supported by several key initiatives including on-site waste treatment, water retention and on-site power generation that can be extended to service beyond the site.


    The proposal by Ysalazam suggests a new forest economy born from the inspiration of an old forest economy, creating an opportunity for more public spaces. The team has suggested a forest dedicated to the Kaurna people who once occupied this area. It will be a ‘Forest for the Future’, a drought proof, climate proof activity generator in the heart of the city and in the heart of a newly-envisioned precinct.

    The proposed building program is seen as a great opportunity to enhance the vibrancy of Adelaide. It’s a connection to a dispersed community. The concept includes a large flexible space for all exhibitions adjacent to a generous plaza for events. Later, a night market will transform the bold and open space into one busy and intimate.

    Zuzana and Nicholas

    The proposal from Zuzana and Nicholas seeks to reconcile the multiple forces at play on the site through a richly layered and non-singular approach. The site will develop an identity as a cultural, arts and education precinct. Adelaide is partly defined by its abundance of parkland. Rather than add to this, we have viewed the RAH site as an opportunity to provide a vibrant urban precinct for the city.

    The proposal is framed by a set of ‘rules for development’ that dictate important constraints that control the scale, extent and nature of development, however allow sufficient flexibility such that the development may be staged incrementally and procured in separate parcels in association with various private interests.


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