The South Australian government has unveiled the members of the esteemed panel that will judge a global design competition to decide the future of the current Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site.

The panel’s announcement also marked the official launch of the Open Ideas Design Competition, which invites registered architects and landscape architects to submit their visions for the site’s future when the hospital is relocated in 2016.

Open Ideas hopes to unearth a suitable solution for the Greater Riverbank Precinct Implementation Plan while strengthening connections to the Riverbank, East End and the CBD, the University Precinct and the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide.

Run by The Office for Design and Architecture SA (ODASA) in Partnership with Renewal SA, the competition has already drawn a large public audience and an incredible amount of global design interest.

Planning Minister John Rau

Planning Minister John Rau

Planning Minister John Rau said the Royal Adelaide Hospital site is an “integral part of the Greater River Precinct and is much-loved” by many South Australians.

He announced that an independent panel will select the winner of the best idea for the site from Open Idea‘s two-stage competition.

Chaired by architect and former national president of the Australian Institute of Architects Shelley Penn and editor of the international publication Architecture Review Catherine Slessor, the independent panel of national experts includes architects Tim Horton, Timothy Hill and Bob Nation, landscape architect Catherin Bull, and urban economist and planner Marcus Spiller.

ODASA says the competition is purely to submit ideas rather than projects, with Penn saying the proposals would be rated against seven criteria including how each design worked with the site’s heritage aspects.

“I’d say everything is open, that’s one of the wonderful qualities about an open ideas competition,” she said. “I think we can get the best designers, you know, the government architect here is fantastic, they’ve got a great team but even they would be fettered by what they know.”

Current Royal Adelaide Hospital

Current Royal Adelaide Hospital

Entrants will also need to consider that the site sits within an area that consists of three distinct precincts: a Health and Well-being Precinct that will incorporate the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, an Entertainment Precinct and an Education and Culture Precinct.

Stage one of the competition will be open until the 28th of August and architects are invited to submit their ideas anonymously. Those ideas will be then shared with the public via a dedicated website and assessed by the panel based on the competition criteria.

Up to six competitors will be selected to participate in the second stage, which will run from September 16 to November 2, and each of these will receive an honorarium of $100,000 for their efforts.

“Over the next five months we will be listening to the community and stakeholders, who we know have a wide range of ideas for potential uses for the site,” Rau said of the process.

Greater Riverbank Precinct Proposal

Greater Riverbank Precinct Proposal

Rau cited the importance of asking the public directly what they would like to see on the site and why the site is important to them.

“I am confident that the expertise of the independent judging panel will deliver on the competitions objectives and also help attract international interest in the competition,” he said.

Other architectural objectives in the site brief include the consideration of sustainable design, the creation of public space, enhancing connectivity throughout the precinct while supporting surrounding heritage through adaptive reuse.

With entries now open, an extensive design brief is outlined on the ODASA with a final design to be selected after Stage 2 in December this year.