Designs revealed for Aboriginal Arts & Cultures Centre

11 February 2021
Credit: 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 and Woods + Bagot create iconic building for Lot Fourteen in Adelaide

New concept designs have been released for the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC), to be built at the Lot Fourteen development site in Adelaide, Australia, which became vacant after the closure of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Woods + Bagot, the AACC is intended to create a new paradigm to showcase the past, present and future of Aboriginal cultures while supporting contemporary art practices and events across disciplines.

The AACC Aboriginal Reference Group (ARG) worked with the design team to ensure the centre will be both contemporary and representative of more than 65,000 years of First Nations cultures across Australia. South Australia Premier Steven Marshall said the striking reference design embodied the vision of the centre as a gateway to the oldest living cultures in the world by incorporating the elements of earth, land and sky. He stated: “The AACC will offer extraordinary immersive experiences, combining traditional storytelling with modern technology, celebrating 65,000 years of Aboriginal cultures and creating a global tourism attraction.”

The façade is inspired by the temporary shelters created by Aboriginal peoples and known by names such as “wurlie” and “humpy”, invoking a sense of welcome and safety. Lower level galleries and terraced landscapes are carved from the earth, providing indoor exhibition and performance spaces, as well as a gathering area for Welcome to Country ceremonies within the outdoor amphitheatre. Reveals in the upper galleries frame views oriented to the sky and natural surroundings, while also exposing the activity within. A basket-like nest of columns shapes the central space and anchors the entire building, placing storytelling at the heart of the structure. 

Charles Renfro stated: “The AACC will welcome visitors through a radically open ground floor, into a safe space with storytelling at its heart. It will be a building of the 21st century, while remaining agile enough to allow future generations to evolve their own storytelling.”  

Construction of the AACC is scheduled to start later in 2021 and the centre is due to open in early 2025.

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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