On the back of Premier Jay Weatherill’s release of Adelaide’s Greater Riverbank Precinct Implementation Plan, the Premier has announced a design competition seeking submissions for the redevelopment of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site.

Held by the state government and led by the Office for Design and Architecture SA (ODASA) in partnership with Renewal SA, the design competition is looking for proposals that will use architecture and design for future benefit of the area.

Local South Australian designers plus those from across Australia and around the globe are invited to submit ideas for the site, which will move to its new location in 2016.

Steve Grieve, South Australian president of the Australian Institute of Architects, believes the collaboration and consultation with locals and affected parties “provides excellent opportunities for architects to partner with the community to create a legacy for future generations.”

Deputy Premier and Planning Minister John Rau anticipates a big impact on local businesses in the area when the hospital relocates in 2016, and both he and Weatherill have stressed the importance of those affected becoming involved in the process.

“We want to make sure that the community has a big say in our decisions,” Weatherill said, pointing out that the public’s input would give direction on how to best utilise the $1.5 million set aside in this month’s state budget for the site’s design process.

The competition includes two stages. Stage one runs from July 18 to August 18, during which time design teams can anonymously submit their proposals.

“Stage one will invite submissions and then six short-listed candidates will be asked to submit final proposals,” said Weatherill.

royal adelaide hospital

The Old Royal Adelaide Hospital, set to relocate in 2016.

Design submissions will be showcased on a website for the community to critique.

Stage two runs from September 16 to November 8, during which time the six shortlisted teams will incorporate community feedback and modify their submissions accordingly.

Along with the state government, Adelaide City Council, community members and business owners will come up with the criteria upon which designs will be judged. The six short-listed entries will need to incorporate community and government feedback into their final proposals.

Organisers hope final proposals will be ready for public unveiling in December.

Government architect Ben Hewett hopes the competition will spawn some creative and innovative designs. Likening the collaborative design process to that used in the development of some of Australia’s iconic sites, such as Melbourne’s Spencer Street Station, Hewett says he’s expecting “world-class proposals that contribute to the vision of the broader Riverbank Precinct.”

“We will be asking design teams to come up with economically viable ideas to support the East End and to inspire the local community,” he added.

Weatherill suggests the RAH site’s proximity to the Botanic Gardens and North Terrace cultural precinct provides a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Adelaide.