Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot have unveiled their design for the new Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC) in Adelaide, Australia. Designed around a "deep Aboriginal connection to Country, place and kin" as the project's foundation, the cultural project aims to become a platform for honoring and developing Australian culture. The AACC concept originates from the Aboriginal conception of the elements linking people to place: earth, land and sky.
The design of the 11,500 square meter AACC building features space for community and visitors alike. Between exhibition levels is an arrival ground plane that extends to the land in all directions and reorients the building and its entry to Kaingka Wirra (Adelaide Botanic Garden). At the heart of the building is a flexible, three-story gathering and performance space that visitors spiral around as they make their way to different levels.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said the design embodied the 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,” he said. The team explains that it will be built on Kaurna land as part of the Lot Fourteen global innovation precinct.
DS+R partner Charles Renfro noted that, “We’re thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking vision to create a place of pride that authentically honors the oldest living cultures on the planet. This first-of-its-kind project has taken on a new life with our continued collaboration with the Aboriginal community and other stakeholder groups, as well as our Australian design partner Woods Bagot. 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.”
As the team explains, for the structure and building skin, the design team drew inspiration from the temporary shelter structures created by Aboriginal peoples across Australia, known by names such as "wurlie" and "humpy". A "basket-like nest of columns" shapes the central space and anchors the entire building, while the façade will feature a woven metallic skin that tilts open to connect Aboriginal art and cultures back to the public and to Country.
Working directly with the AACC Ambassador David Rathman AM, the design team of DS+R and Woods Bagot engaged members of the AACC Aboriginal Reference Group to discover the design vision. Woods Bagot principal Rosina Di Maria described the consultation process, noting that, "The design team’s role was to listen, and translate the aspirations and ambitions of the ARG into a design response. The architecture evokes a sense of welcome to all visitors – particularly First Nations peoples – and a connection to culture offered through the human experience."
News via Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot