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Adelaide Convention Centre - East Building, Australia

Aurecon's award-winning structural and geotechnical design creates a new, state-of-the-art facility without putting a single new pile on the project site

“Innovative solutions were used to build the new East 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. The new East building is an outstanding example of a world-class conference centre.” – Garth Rowland, Technical Director, Built Environment.


The Adelaide Convention Centre Redevelopment project was an AUD397 million project that included a major extension to the existing facility as well as the construction of a new plenary facility, now known as the East Building. Aurecon was involved in both phases of the project, which has reaffirmed the Adelaide Convention Centre as one of the world’s premier conference centres.

The first phase of the project. The West Building, was opened in March 2015 and the second phase, the new East Building facility that replaced the existing Plenary Building, was officially opened in August 30 2017.

The original Plenary Building was first constructed in the 1980s and has now been 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 Aurecon design team with this project was determining how to go about building the new facility on top of the existing car park and structure over the railway. 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 structures in such a way that the team was able to build the new facility on top of the existing 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 East 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 architects Woods Bagot, the design of the building was driven by the capacity that was able to be achieved from the existing structure.  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.

Award winning

This project has won the following awards for Aurecon: 

  • Winner: 2018 South Australia Engineering Excellence Award and AEEA Finalist 
  • Winner: 2018 Australian Steel Institute (ASI) Australian Steel Excellence Awards (South Australia division) – Steel Excellence for Large Projects Category
  • Winner: 2017 Concrete Institute of Australia – National Excellence Award, Repairs & Rehabilitation Category
  • Winner: 2017 Concrete Institute of Australia – SA Excellence Award, Repairs & Rehabilitation Category
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