The transformation of Festival Plaza into a world-class destination at the heart of the Adelaide Riverbank is well underway.
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About the project
Festival Plaza is set to become a world-class destination in the heart of the Adelaide Riverbank Entertainment Precinct.
The upgrade of the Plaza is a key component to the success of the broader Adelaide Riverbank, as it will not only generate economic growth, but it will also become a destination of choice for local, interstate and overseas visitors. A vibrant destination with people-focused spaces to explore, congregate, relax, shop, dine and play.
Festival Plaza redevelopment
Festival Plaza, undertaken by the state government in partnership with SkyCity Adelaide and Walker Corporation, represents $1 billion in public and private investment, including $213 million from the State Government. The development includes:
- an expansion to SkyCity Casino, completed in 2020
- a mixed-use development by Walker Corporation, comprising a 5-level car park (completed in 2021), 29 storey 6-star Green Star office tower, known as One Festival Tower (due for completion in 2024), a 3-storey retail building and surrounding public realm
- State Government led upgrades to the Adelaide Festival Centre and civic spaces
- award-winning northern entrance to the Adelaide Railway Station.
The public realm is being constructed in stages in alignment with the completion of adjacent developments.
The first and largest stage of the revitalised Festival Plaza public realm was completed in March 2022. The expansive new public space features six arbours, a 20m-long water feature, landscaping and refurbished artworks from the original Hajek Plaza. Following the launch of the public realm programmed activation of the plaza commenced, further contributing to and fulfilling key project place principles.
Further stages of the Festival Plaza public realm upgrade will provide an additional 7,900 m2 of renewed open space (totalling 16,500 m2) with 10 more arbours.
Once complete, public space will have been established in the areas surrounding some of Adelaide’s most iconic heritage buildings including the Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Railway Station and the Houses of Parliament.
Approximately 785 construction jobs per year have been supported since the project commenced. This is in addition to the SkyCity expansion, which created 1,000 construction jobs and 800 ongoing jobs.
Festival Plaza is a unique, world-class hub for the arts, culture, tourism and entertainment.
Through community consultation and working in close partnership with industry specialists, five ‘place principles’ were developed to ensure the vision for the plaza was reflected in any concept designs for the site.
- A compelling destination
Adelaide’s premier entertainment destination and an engaging place that welcomes people from all walks of life.
- The heart of the Riverbank
An integrated part of the Adelaide Riverbank, with coordinated places and programs, and clear connections within and beyond the plaza.
- Event-ready space
Well serviced with built-in facilities and infrastructure to enable convenient and elegant adaptation for temporary events, festivals and performances of different scales and durations.
- Dynamic and evolving place
A place that offers a different experience every time, that celebrates the seasons and is brought to life by a balance of curated and spontaneous activities.
- Distinctive place
A memorable and distinctive place that embodies a unique account of people, cultural life and character of Adelaide, combining relaxed sophistication with creative endeavour.
Designed to connect
A reimagined station road, new Adelaide Railway Station entry and stronger integration with King William Road now connects the Adelaide Riverbank to the CBD better than ever before.
The promenade along the northern face of the Adelaide Festival Centre has been substantially upgraded to provide wider pathways and improved connections to the theatres. It incorporates a ‘Walk of Fame’, comprising stars set into the walkway celebrating performers past and present.
When completed, the redesign of Station Road will transform this area into a picturesque tree lined north-south boulevard connecting the city to the new Festival Plaza, Elder Park and the River Torrens.
Access to the theatres has been enhanced and visitors can able to relax in a central garden as they wait for a performance to begin, enjoy a bite to eat from the adjacent dining offerings or experience activities in the new Art Space Plaza.
The new award-winning entrance at the north of the Adelaide Railway Station provides level access to and from the Riverbank Footbridge and beyond, and an impressive vaulted ceiling, retail outlets, as well as entrances into the SkyCity Casino and Dunstan Playhouse.
Heritage and culture
Dedicated community consultation was undertaken, including with First Nations community bodies and the State Heritage Unit, to help inform the place principles and project outcomes.
A Cultural Heritage Management Plan was developed for the project site in liaison with Kaurna elders on the removal and relocation of the Indigenous public art impacted by construction.
Arts South Australia was engaged to work with the artists and their families to respectfully manage the removal and/or reinstatement of the Kaurna Meyunna, Kaurna Yerta Tampendi by Tony Rosella.
Other refurbished artworks from the original Hajek Plaza that have been installed into the new public space include:
- Vertical Variation by Bert Flugelman
- Sundial by Owen Broughton
- Tetrahedra by Bert Flugelman.