The project was for a conceptual vision and innovative solutions for the re-use of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital health care precinct, with a focus on a new masterplan that could connect the site back to the adjacent Adelaide CBD and parklands belt.
Central Adelaide has historically had a strong relationship with its parkland. The original grid called for a series of consolidated settlements either side of the River Torrens, surrounded by open land. While the green space surrounding the CBD has occasionally been encroached upon, the underlying structure of this figure ground relationship remains strong and has come to define the urban character of central Adelaide. The city is an island that is detached from its surrounding suburbs, both physically by the river and belt of parkland, and programmatically by the overwhelming presence of commercial land use. While in recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of residents, Adelaide remains a donut city with less than 2% of the overall population residing in its centre.
The development of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site presents an opportunity to challenge the existing order. Like Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London, one of the most endearing aspects of Adelaide is it immediate and highly urban connection to parkland. It provides a relief from the relentlessness of the grid, and a space into which the city can overflow on hot days and holidays. This proposal seeks to exponentially increase the frontage between the city and the park by effectively teasing out and ‘fraying’ the edge between the RAH site and the adjacent Botanical Gardens, breaking down the traditional stark boundary between urban and green space in the city.
The site will become a test case for a model of programmatic diversity that plugs into both the adjacent University of Adelaide and the commercial district at the north eastern edge of the city to create a new mixed use precinct incorporating housing, boutique retail, café & bars, hotel and a new Australian Centre for Commercialisation of Research.
John Doyle, Laura Martires
Completed Concept Design
City of Adelaine / City LAB