Aboriginal Art & Cultures Centre enters planning process

12 August 2021
Credit: Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Woods Bagot
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Woods Bagot
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Woods Bagot
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Woods Bagot

Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Woods Bagot


Adelaide, SA


Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Woods Bagot create design in collaboration with First Nations people

Plans for the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC) in Adelaide, Australia, have entered the South Australian planning approval process, after being submitted to the State Commission Assessment Panel. Designed by Tenderstream member Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot, the AU$200m AACC will provide a platform for First Nations people to share their cultures and tell their stories. The centre includes spaces for permanent and visiting exhibitions, cultural performances, meetings and ceremonies, gatherings and events, together with a café and retail space.

Since the reference design for the building was unveiled in February 2021, the concept has developed through engagement with Aboriginal communities as part of the collaborative design process. Creating stronger connection to Country, the feature gallery is now completely outdoors, and the building more decisively originates from the earth, with columns that appear to grow from out of the ground. Diller Scofidio + Renfro partner Charles Renfro states: “Through deeper and wider engagement via the Aboriginal Reference Group, our design speaks to and embraces Aboriginal shared values and references forms found in Aboriginal art and cultures. Wholly connected to the landscape, the design embeds the lower ground level into the site and includes an outdoor gallery cantilevered over the terraced landscape.”

A significant proportion of the site will be established with a combination of plants and vegetation, paving, walls, terracing, seating and a range of water features. A series of interconnected pathways will wind around the building and flow into smaller, quiet spaces throughout the site to enable visitors to take time out from the city environment.

The AACC is a project whose significance has captured the simultaneous attention of the nation and the world. Woods Bagot principal Rosina Di Maria said the team is aware of the responsibility that came with the design task, stating: “We’re designing a vessel to hold - to nurture and care for - the stories of the world’s oldest and resilient, continuous culture on earth. The design must speak to the whole nation and especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.” 

Lucy Nordberg
Tenderstream Head of Research

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