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Historic building to be made design festival hub

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A design competition is underway to turn this grand old building into the creative hub for the second annual Festival of Architecture and Design in October.

Teams of designers will compete to plan the events space layout of the former Telecom Trust building on Franklin Street in Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga.

The three-storey neoclassical building was designed by then government architect Charles Edward Owen Smyth to demonstrate the benefits of telephone technology around the time of federation.

The venue was secured by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) in partnership with Renew Adelaide.

Renew Adelaide CEO Lily Jacobs said it was an iconic site.

“We’re really excited to work with Festival of Architecture and Design on such an innovative project that will have benefits for the architecture and design community, the creative community, the property itself and the city as a whole.”

AIA SA Chapter general manager Nicolette Di Lernia said the competition was a chance for Adelaide’s design community to display its talents.

The building's neoclassical facade. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

This year’s festival will feature a “soap box” designers’ debate, walking and cycling tours, and a photographic competition to capture architects at work. It will also include an “open house” program – formerly run each year by History SA – which will allow public access to buildings of architectural significance.

Organisers hope to attract around 2,500 people to the event, more than double the turnout for the debut festival last year.

Di Lernia said several industry associations, including that Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, were preparing their own events for the six-day long program.

She told InDaily the theme for this year’s festival – space on the edge – reflected the unique economic and geographical position of South Australia’s design community.

“We’re geographically quite central, but people … see us as sitting at the edge of the eastern states,” she said.

“Having a small community and having a community that has to do things without the luxury of big budgets, (means) we actually have quite an agile design community; an innovative design community.

“It is actually quite a unique design culture because we have to do things better than perhaps other people do, when they have the luxury of a bigger budget.”

She said the festival would help the public gain a better understanding of architecture and design in South Australia.

The festival is sponsored by Architectural Window Systems and is presented by the Australian Institute of Architects with NAG (Emerging Architects and Graduates Network), the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and the Design Institute of Australia.

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