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The Kaurna Building offers legibility by providing a transparent building skin to Hindley Street. This ‘explanatory’ building reveals the activity it houses and its functional relationships; it is an exposition of its academic program.

At night, the play of light and shade from within creates the perception of a living institution in the heart of the city. This presentation to the public realm is symbolic of a shift to a more open, transparent and engaging institution.

The Kaurna building is sited on a commercial street between a pub and a heritage-listed building. It connects the campus to the city's commercial activity with a loose ensemble of building elements that fits the unstructured nature of the Hindley Street streetscape: the building is the University’s informal southern gateway to this evolving arts precinct.

  • Traditional Custodians The Kaurna people
  • Collaborators Wardle in joint venture with Hassell
  • Client University of South Australia
  • Location Adelaide, South Australia
  • Project Duration 2002 – 2005
  • Floor Levels 5
  • Floor Area 5,869 sqm
  • Selected Awards
  • Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings, AIA National Awards 2006
  • Best of State Award for Commercial Interior Design (SA), Interior Design Awards 2007
  • Innovation & Excellence Awards for Public Buildings, PCA/RLB Awards 2008

Several new galleries have been created within the building, many built-in, providing maximum opportunity for the showcasing of student work. The planning of the building encourages interplay between budding artists, designers and architects, between staff and students, and between the schools and the community.

The challenge of creating architecture that houses the study of architecture was resolved by elaborating the building’s construction.  Rather than offering students a symbolic representation of assembly, the craft of assembly is on display. The construction process is legible, demonstrating the creative potential of economical and robust fabrication techniques.

The unique properties of precast and insitu concrete are emphasised and juxtaposed throughout the buildings. The super-white precast panels exploit the precision and high level of finish achievable with this technology, as well as the serial nature of a panellised façade. The insitu concrete is left grey, and made to cantilever, incline and distort, the characteristics of this material explored.


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