Written by: Cox Architecture, Images by John Gollings and Drew Lenman Photography at Orange Lane Studios
The Adelaide Oval has throughout history served as a gathering place for major sporting events and public ceremonies, forming part of the cultural and social fabric of South Australia. Its parkland setting and unique backdrop of Moreton Bay fig trees, Heritage-listed scoreboard and St Peter’s Cathedral spire have over time developed an identity as one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world.
The underlying philosophy of the recent redevelopment of the site was to create an activated and flexible events platform that embraces the historic, social and cultural context of this original Adelaide Oval identity. The design blends a proud and significant history with a contemporary expression of space and structure that is distinctly South Australian. The project is a key component in the activation of the City of Adelaide Riverbank Precinct and the public and cultural benefits are diverse and extensive.
The Adelaide Oval redevelopment project is conceived as three pavilions in a parkland setting, where each stand responds to its site context and history, while developing a unique sense of place and contributing to a cultural identity and increased public purpose. The new pavilions employ a hierarchy of form, with a strong masonry base, articulated bronze façade, expressed bowl structure and floating white diagrid roof form to create a legible and shared identity. Together, the pavilions form a composition around the northern mound.
Gaps between the pavilions are important to the character and quality of the ground, offering views between the playing area and the surrounding parkland and opening up the oval to the public realm.
The project emphasises public space through a space planning approach based on principles for a new urban city environment. Exterior and interior spaces are connected via a public ground plane, where large volume entries greet visitors on arrival, offering transparency between the entry and the oval beyond. Internal spaces are in turn conceived to take advantage of spectacular views outside the venue, where spaces are positioned to take advantage of both the famous playing surface and the surrounding site’s rich context.
The cultural engagement and vibrancy of the city and surrounding Riverbank Precinct during events and daily public life is a measure of the success of the Adelaide Oval redevelopment. The project continues the traditional use of the site as a major destination for social and cultural interaction and has provided a significant contribution to the activation of the Adelaide public realm.
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