The Adelaide Entertainment Centre’s $52M redevelopment was officially unveiled in March 2010. Designed by DesignInc, the new ETFE dome with dynamic LED lighting system forms a dramatic entry statement for the centre.
The project included demolition of the existing Rubicon Function Room and courtyard, demolition of the circular colonnade to the plaza, and significant alterations to the Alchemy courtyard and main arena entry canopy, to make way for the new dome and performance venue named the Theatre.
The redevelopment was designed as a series of three distinct spatial ideas. The ‘dynamic dome space’ – symbolic of the transparency, movement, changing moods and image of modern performance; the flexible box – conceived as a solid pure form, able to reveal a multitude of performance modes and functions, providing a visual counterpoint to the dome; and the ‘interactive foyer’ – a visual and functional link between the dome and the box, able to display internal and external imagery. Simplified into overlapping extruded boxes, the Theatre foyer and back of house facilities wrap around the Theatre, terminating within the dome space.
The Theatre is capable of accommodating 2500 visitors in general admission mode, 1700 in seated theatre mode and 800 in seated banquet mode. Large operable acoustic walls can divide the space in two whilst retractable seating also adds to the theatre’s flexibility. The Theatre also contains a general admission bar, VIP bar overlooking the Plaza and Theatre foyer, back of house dressing and green room facilities and a commercial kitchen.
The Theatre is offset by a 2.4m x 67m super screen, which displays images and video of upcoming events. This compliments the dome’s specialist lighting that is capable of projecting 16 million colours as well as hundreds of dynamic patterns.
Pedestrian safety around the centre has been improved with the removal of an existing basement car park driveway to Port Road, as well as the introduction of a VIP vehicle drop-off zone. The drop off zone was incorporated into the new ‘pixellated’ feature paving rather than using traditional roadway materials as a visual signal to drivers that they are within the pedestrian zone.
Macro branding and signage links the spaces and assists visitors in navigating their way to the new exterior ticket box and the three venues. The AEC’s red corporate colours were incorporated into all major signage elements, with two type-on-colour combinations used to differentiate the old and new venues. The freestanding ticket box and entry portal were designed as a continuous venue threshold addressing Port Road, with red feature cladding and illuminated acrylic wrapping around the edges to link the two. Both provide the dome plaza with shelter and acoustic separation, as well as a security checkpoint when required.
Feedback from both professionals who utilise the new spaces as well as visitors has been incredibly positive in the months since the redevelopment was unveiled, with the new dome a highly visible addition to Adelaide’s architectural landscape. The redevelopment was completed on time and on budget, coinciding with the opening of the new tramline to the centre.
Text by DesignInc.