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Opening up a new Adelaide treasure

Opening up a new Adelaide treasure

With its gracious heritage buildings, public institutions, university campuses and wide-tree lined footpaths, Adelaide’s North Terrace is one of Australia’s great cultural boulevards – and a now a new treasure for all to enjoy is being created at its eastern end.

Work is about to start on the development of outdoor areas at the seven-hectare Lot Fourteen ideas neighbourhood, opening up this former hospital site to create seamless connections between the buzzing East End with the verdant serenity of Adelaide Botanic Garden and the city’s expansive parklands.

Along the way, visitors will get an insight into the exciting future industries being fostered in this entrepreneurial, ideas neighbourhood thanks to design protocols that will blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, creating a series of spaces for planned and unplanned interactions between visitors, researchers, entrepreneurs and employees.

These will include courtyards, lawns, plaza, shops and cafes, and a series of pavilions that can be used for pop-up events, such as socializing, education, showcasing research, health and wellbeing activities, or maybe a cool wine bar.

The public areas will also be designed to showcase major public attractions coming to Lot Fourteen, including the Australian Space Agency, Mission Control and Space Discovery Centre, the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Galley and the Innovation Centre, which will feature a publicly accessible Innovation Hub on the ground floor.

Once completed, Lot Fourteen will become one of the most visited precincts in the city of Adelaide, with as many as 6000 employees and 1000 students, plus an estimated 300,000 visitors a year to the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery and 60,000 a year visiting Mission Control and the Space Discovery Centre.

More than half of the site will become open space, planted with large, established trees and with an emphasis on pedestrian and cycling access, all supporting the aim of achieving the southern hemisphere’s first WELL Community rating from the International WELL Building Institute.

Public art will be integrated throughout the neighborhood to create distinctive and memorable places and reflect its origins as a significant site for the Kaurna people, as a major public hospital and its role today.

The urban design and landscape project for Lot Fourteen is being led by Adelaide-based Oxigen, one of Australia’s most awarded landscape architecture and urban design practices. The master plan and protocols won an Award of Excellence in the Urban Design category at the recent 2019 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Awards for South Australia.

Oxigen Director James Hayter explained that the master plan was developed in response to the needs of the people who will work and study at Lot Fourteen and to attract visitors to the site

“The masterplan is not fixed, it is a framework that can develop over time,” he says.

“It’s about creating a precinct that is dynamic and can change as circumstances change with flexible spaces that people can really feel part of.

“Before the masterplan was developed, there was extensive consultation with industry, likely tenants, government agencies and the general public and they said they wanted an open place that is people friendly.

“The site stretches from the tightly built city grid to the green expanses of the Adelaide Parklands and the Adelaide Botanic Garden, so the intent is to pull those green credentials into a very green, pedestrianized place with a very strong sustainable agenda.”

James says one of the aims of Lot Fourteen is to encourage collaboration of businesses and organisations creating a mixture of culture and professions.

“The public realm is neutral ground that can be used by anyone, it’s where you can meet new people and share ideas,” he says. “For example, it might be where younger people can rub shoulders with those who are leaders in their field. It encourages informal mentorship and interaction.

The urban design protocols and public realm will also unify the site’s five heritage buildings with the striking new buildings to come, including the Innovation Centre, the International Centre for Food, Hospitality and Tourism Studies and the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery.

James says the presence of the heritage buildings adds an extra dimension to the Lot Fourteen compared to other major urban precincts in Australia and around the world that comprise only new built form.

“Compared to many other new precincts where the existing site buildings and features are erased, there is a layering of effort and endeavor that becomes obvious as the site transforms” he says.

“People like the grittiness of urban environments that reflect on previous uses - they inform how we live now.”

“Keeping the heritage buildings is really important part for retaining the character of both this neighbourhood and the CBD.

“The idea of adaptive reuse of the heritage buildings is very contextual. It’s about building on rather than always striving to be “new”. It makes places such as Lot Fourteen much more interesting and important as our cities seek to achieve increased livability.”

Lot Fourteen is being developed as a mixed-use precinct to meet modern expectations of the workplace by providing opportunities for fitness, socializing, professional development, and taking part in art and culture. These facilities and opportunities will be available to everyone, not just those working on the site.

“Single use office buildings, when you arrive at 9am and leave at 5pm, are a thing of the past,” James says.

“Work is much more flexible, and workplaces need to offer more opportunities. A workplace must support working part time and help people to achieve their work/life balance; for example, by having fitness facilities or child care on site.

James says one of the primary aims of the public realm design is to open up Lot Fourteen to encourage people to experience and enjoy this new place.

“The original hospital was purposefully a closed place for security reasons, and you had to enter the precinct through designated entries that were tightly controlled,” he says.

“People will be attracted by the facilities and the fact that it’s a contemporary cool place that is different to the ordinary streets of the city. It’s an alternative and it’s not about retail.”

James says the emphasis on user friendly outdoor areas will take advantage of one of Adelaide’s points of difference compared with many other cities around the world that are also competing to attract new business investment.

“Adelaide has an almost perfect climate with an absence of pollution, wind and extreme conditions. People can use the public realm at Lot Fourteen at all times of the year, enhancing Adelaide’s reputation as one of the great livable cities of the world.

“The public realm is the gel that holds urban precincts together, it’s more about activation, socializing and environmental credentials.

“Lot Fourteen will be an exemplar for post industrial development in Australian cities. It’s great to see Adelaide at the forefront good planning and design,” James says.

“Lot Fourteen will be a place for all South Australians - an open, inviting mixed use precinct that integrates industry, education, training, research, art, culture and community.”

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