Adelaide Architecture: A walking tour

PART 2: River Torrens Footbridge to the New Royal Adelaide Hospital

This is the second part of the Adelaide Architecture Walking Tour.


Victorian Rotunda in Elder Park

BUILT: 1882
LOCATION: Elder Park
ENTRY: Open all day every day.

The decorative wrought iron and zinc roof of Elder Park’s octagonal rotunda was made in Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow.

The depth of the foundations from the base to floor level is 5.5m, providing space underneath for storing musical equipment and for band practices.

Victorian Rotunda in Elder Park, Adelaide.

Adelaide Convention Centre

BUILT: Completed in 1987
LOCATION: On the banks of the River Torrens off Festival Drive

Adelaide Convention Centre houses Centre Artbeat, 9 halls, 26 meeting rooms, and Regattas Bistro and Bar. It also hosts more than 700 events each year.

The building is constantly evolving with three major extensions completed in less than 30 years with a fourth due to be completed in 2017. It’s a massive structure consisting of several buildings. When you’re finished exploring, go to the front desk and enquire about the free bikes if you feel like riding the rest of the tour. You’ll be provided with a bicycle helmet.

West Building of the Adelaide Convention Centre
Adelaide Convention Centre.

University of South Australia: Kaurna Building

BUILT: 2005
LOCATION: Hindley Street and Fenn Place
ENTRY: Access on the ground floor to the cafe, SASA Gallery, and architecture museum.

The Kaurna Building, designed by John Wardle Architects, is home to the Louis Laybourne-Smith School of Architecture and Design and the South Australian School of Art. Huge expanses of glass offer glimpses into student activity within. The interiors carry an open, industrial feel.

On the ground floor is a licensed café and the SASA Gallery which supports a program of research based exhibitions that focus on innovative, experimental and performce art practices. The architecture museum, also on the ground floor, preserves an invaluable collection of local historic records.

University of South Australia, Kaurna Building

University of South Australia: Hawke Building

BUILT: 2007
LOCATION: 55 North Terrace
ENTRY: Access is free. Check gallery hours.

The Hawke Building is home to the Samstag Museum of Art, the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery and a thought provoking art work in the entry foyer by renowned Australian Artist, Fiona Hall. Like the Kaurna Building (above) it was designed by John Wardle Architects.

University of South Australia, Hawke Building


BUILT: 2013
LOCATION: North Terrace (west end)
ENTRY: Tours run every Friday. Check times on their website


The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is an architectural masterpiece. A collaboration between Woods Bagot, Aurecon, and Research Facilities Design (RFD), it is the first laboratory building in Australia designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating for sustainability.

Inspired by nature

It’s exterior design was inspired by the skin of a pinecone and uses simple Euclidean theory. Flower columns reduce the number of supporting columns needed. The triangulated diagrid façade responds to the environment like a living organism and the spiky windows contain 6290 glass panels that dazzle in the sun.

The building’s design is intended to foster collaboration between researchers through a visual connection between floors and an interconnecting spiral stair.


Tours of the facility last one hour, are limited to 20 people, and run from 8 January until 10 June (for 2016) at 2:00pm every Friday, except on public holidays.Highlights of the tour include SAHMRI’s state of the art interiors, the atrium café and spiral staircase. You can register for the tour here.



New Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH)

BUILT: To be completed in 2016.
LOCATION: North Terrace near SAHMRI
ENTRY: 24 hours.


A New Royal Adelaide Hospital is currently under construction and will be completed by 2016. This will be South Australia’s greenest hospital and will incorporate extensive environmentally sustainable design initiatives.

The site is well-serviced by public transport (trains, trams, busses) and provides 300 bicycle parks and associated amenities, including shower and locker facilities for staff and visitors. This makes it very accessible to the community and encourages low carbon travel. More information on design elements and sustainability.


Healing Environment

The aim is to harness the latest in architectural design to create a healing environment for patients and a positive working environment for staff. In part, this will be achieved by ensuring all rooms have access to natural light and easy access to internal gardens on balconies, roof gardens and internal courtyards. Natural elements have been incorporated into the interior design.


New Royal Adelaide Hospital

From here you can walk, take a free bicycle or catch a tram along North Terrace to Government House where we start PART 3 of our Adelaide Architecture Tour.

More Information

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