CULTURE CAMPUS_THE EAST PRECINCT, Adelaide                                                                                        Year: 2013                                                                                                                                                                 Type: Urban design competition

The East Precinct is our vision for the adaptive re-use of the Royal Adelaide Hospital site in the north-east corner of central Adelaide. It seeks to extend the scope and footprint of the neighbouring Culture Campus through the addition of a new mixed-use precinct focussed on education, collaboration and the creative industries to expand the offering and appeal of the Culture Campus as a civic and cultural destination within the life and economy of Adelaide.

A cluster of heritage buildings along the Frome Road edge of the site forms a “multiversity” hub with additional teaching, lecture, learning and administration space to meet the expansion needs of the existing universities and cultural institutions within the Campus. Additional civic and cultural institutions broaden the offering of the Campus including a new home for the Contemporary Arts Centre of South Australia. The centre of the precinct is occupied by a creative incubator and a research hub for cross-disciplinary collaboration. A residential edge consisting of student housing, apartments and a boutique hotel wraps the precinct on the north and east edges of the site – facing the Botanic Gardens - contributing to activation, viability and safety. Restaurants and retail occupy ground level tenancies throughout the precinct.

Our proposal embraces the heritage and legacy of the RAH site as a significant part of the Adelaide urban fabric. Most of the existing buildings on the site are retained for adaptive re-use. The buildings along the west and south edges are largely retained intact whilst the sprawling complex in the centre of the site is subjected to a process of creative subtraction that carves open space out of the buildings and reduces excess mass and built area. This strategy inverts the legacy of hospital planning  – transforming the site from a sprawling network of continuous building to a fine grain public realm network of outdoor, active courtyards.