New concept designs have been released today for Adelaide’s Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC), to be built at Lot 14 in the city’s CBD.
The AACC Aboriginal Reference Group (ARG) has worked with the design team from US architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro working with the locals Woods Bagot to ensure the centre will be both contemporary and reflective of more than 65,000 years of First Nations cultures across Australia. Deep Aboriginal connection to Country is being woven into the design. The group will continue to work on the design as detailed plans are developed by Woods Bagot over the next 12 months.
Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher, who has helped to fund the AACC, said the project would boost the cultural economy of South Australia and drive year-round tourism. The centre will showcase the past, present and future of Aboriginal cultures while supporting contemporary visual, performing and multimedia arts events, he said.
The Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall commented that the striking reference design, with overlapping layers surrounding a central gathering space, embodied a vision of the AACC as a gateway to the oldest living cultures in the world by incorporating the elements of earth, land and sky.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 Premier said.
We will share with the world, with great pride, the incredible stories and unique cultures of Australia’s First Peoples, as never told or shown before. The reference design has been developed in close consultation with the ARG to reflect Aboriginal values and aspirations.
Construction of the AACC is scheduled to start later in 2021 and should be open in early 2025.
AACC Ambassador, David Rathman, said the ARG was working to ensure that the centre reflects the diversity of First Nations peoples across Australia, particularly the Kaurna Nation, as it will be located on a significant Kaurna site.It has to be a centre we will all be proud of as a place to present our cultures to the world, Rathman said.The building has to reach out to you, to make you want to come inside and to come back.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Aboriginal people to have ownership and leadership of what will become one of the State’s leading tourism attractions and to be active participants in that venture through business and career opportunities. There is a lot of excitement for this centre.
Woods Bagot Principal, Rosina Di Maria said the AACC reference design was inspired by the temporary shelters created by Aboriginal peoples and known by names such as wurlie, gunyah or humpy, and would invoke a sense of welcome and safety. This association is created by draping a softly shimmering woven skin on to the facade that emulates those shelter structures. It also features fresh and saltwater reflection pools, an outdoor gallery and amphitheatre, views of nature and access to daylight, Ms Di Maria said.
AACC, with 23,000 sq mtrs of exhibition space, will welcome visitors through a radically open ground floor, into a safe space with storytelling at its heart. The design features lower level galleries and terraced landscapes carved from the earth, providing exhibition and performance spaces and a gathering area for Welcome to Country ceremonies. The welcoming ground floor extends in all directions and reorients the building to Kaingka Wirra (Adelaide Botanic Garden). Upper galleries reveal openings into the central court, a spiralling three-story space that doubles as both a natural gathering area and the main axis for visitor circulation. They will also have outward-looking views to reflect truth-telling and transparency.
The Australian Government has committed $85 million to the development of the AACC through the Adelaide City Deal. The State government has committed $115 million to the Centre, including an extra $50 million funding in the latest Budget.