WAN Adaptive Reuse Award 2015 Winner Announced

Lydia O’Callaghan
14 Jan 2016

Woods Bagot & Tridente Architects are awarded as the winners for their Tonsley Main Assembly Building and Pods project

It is with great pleasure that we champion Woods Bagot & Tridente Architects as the winners of the WAN Adaptive Reuse Award 2015 for their impressive Tonsley Main Assembly Building and Pods project - Congratulations!

The winner was selected from six shortlisted projects which were chosen by our esteemed jury panel: John Assael, Founder of Assael Architecture, Ziona Strelitz, Founder of ZZA Responsive User Environments, and Jo Wright, Practice Leader at Arup Associates. The judges felt that the shortlisted projects highlighted the range of possibilities within adaptive reuse design, highlighting fantastic examples of what’s possible in this category. They were all in agreement that there was one clear winner on the day. 

When Woods Bagot & Tridente Architects were appointed master planners for the 61 hectare Tonsley former Mitsubishi site, it was assumed the main assembly building would be demolished. The architects identified benefits to retaining the existing structure, resulting in an urban renewal project without precedent.

Their design activates land that would otherwise be of low value, provides economic and environmental benefits and creates a strong brand identity for a building rich in historical importance for South Australia. The project respects the strong social connections to the building while firmly establishing its place in the future of the State’s economy. “If more people could follow the architect’s model on these massive legacy spaces that no one knows what to do with, it would be very constructive” commented Ziona. Jo agreed, saying: “It’s so vast.” 

The Main Assembly Building (MAB) design became part of the demonstration of what a new industrial employment precinct would look like. The 'umbrella' of the existing structure celebrates the industrial heritage of the building, creating a unique public destination and delivers a clear layout with a highly flexible work environment. The tenancies use a ‘pod’ approach that are adaptable, flexible and highly functional. 

Four urban forests inside the MAB provide naturally shaded green spaces, cool the air and reduce the sun’s thermal load on the roof. By retaining the existing structure the project has saved approximately 90,000 tons of carbon which is equivalent to taking 25,000 average cars off the road for one year. 

Tonsley is recognised as a world leader in environmentally sustainable design and building practices, with a 6 Star Green Star - Communities certification award; the only urban renewal development to achieve this level of certification. John concluded: “It’s a beautiful intervention.”

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank not only the jury, but all who entered their projects into this year's WAN Adaptive Reuse Award. 

Lydia O’Callaghan

Awards Coordinator

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