Adelaide Convention Centre - Plenary Redevelopment, Australia

“Innovative solutions were used to build the new Plenary Building on top of the existing car park at the Adelaide Convention Centre. By researching every possible design solution, investigating geotechnical records and finding new ways to manipulate structural load paths, the design team was able to create a new, state-of-the-art facility without having to put a single new pile on the project site. Upon completion, the new plenary building will be an outstanding example of a world-class conference centre.” - Garth Rowland, Technical Director, Built Environment.

The Adelaide Convention Centre Redevelopment project is an AUD400 million project that includes a major extension to the existing facilities as well as the construction of a new plenary facility. Aurecon is involved in both phases of the project, which is set to reaffirm the Adelaide Convention Centre as one of the world’s premier conference centres.

The first phase of the project was opened in March 2015 and the second phase, which involves the design and construction of a new facility that replaces the existing Plenary Building, is scheduled for completion in 2017. The existing Plenary Building was first constructed in the 1980s and it is currently being upgraded to a multi-purpose, state-of-the-art facility with plenary capacity of up to 3 500 seats.

One of the biggest challenges that the design team experienced was determining how to go about building the new facility on top of the existing car park. The team interrogated the existing geotechnical records, increased the capacity of the piles, manipulated the structural load paths and pushed the new building through the existing car park in such a way that the team was able to build the new facility on top of the car park without having to put a single new pile on the ground.

The reuse of the existing substructure meant the programme could be accelerated, affording the client more time as well as more resources to be able to improve the offering of the Adelaide Convention Centre. Some of the highlights of the Plenary Building include; the new pre-function area with elevated views of the riverbank; the flexibility in the space due to the plenary hall seating tiers which are hinged to be lifted off the roof to transform the tiered seating into a column-free dining room floor within minutes; and the rotating drum seating at the rear of the hall.

“Working in close collaboration with Woods Bagot, the design of the building was driven by the capacity that was able to be achieved from the existing structure.  Working with the architect we were able to adjust the form and orientation of the building to match the building to the existing structure, giving the building some of its unique architectural character.” – James Trezona, Technical Director, Built Environment.

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