The Adelaide Convention Centre’s recent redevelopment set a new benchmark in convention centre design and functionality. From a design perspective, the venue provides a grand international statement: three unique architectural gestures provide a cohesive, distinctly South Australian narrative.

As set out by Centre Management, the brief for the ‘new-look’ Adelaide Convention Centre demanded a venue that was:

  • Iconic and South Australian;
  • Respected the architecture and scale of Adelaide;
  • Catered for the polarisation of large and small events;
  • Reflected operator requirements for functionality and flexibility; and,
  • Would accommodate technological change and future needs.

“The operational brief for our redevelopment was very precise – to create a new “breed” of convention centre in terms of flexibility and innovation,” says Simon Burgess, General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre. “Not only does the design pay homage to South Australia’s iconic landscape, but it brings together three types of seating – hinged, rotating and retractable seats – as well as provides opportunities to break the plenary at both the balcony level and through the middle, making it one of the most flexible convention centres in the world.”

The design for the ‘new look’ Centre was a collaborative effort between the ACC, architects in Woods Bagot’s Adelaide offices and UK-based Larry Oltman from VX3 architects London.

Select design highlights are summarised as follows:

A Centre Transformed

  • Delivered in two stages, the ACC’s redevelopment included the addition of two new buildings, ‘West’ and ‘East’, which sit either side of the Centre’s existing ‘Central’ building.
  • Comprising unique identities, each building was designed to operate as a standalone facility with its own dedicated entrance, or combined to function as one dynamic venue for larger events.

Uniquely South Australian

  • The ACC’s exterior design showcases a landscape formed over half a billion years ago. The West Building (opened March 2015) was inspired by the dramatic layered geology and colour of South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. The East Building (launched August 2017) is reflective of Kangaroo Island’s Remarkable Rocks.
  • The East Building interior captures the experience of South Australia’s outback sky with a spectacular ‘Starlight’ aerial backdrop made from more than 35,000 twinkling fibre optic lights.

Flexibility and Innovation

  • The East Building incorporates numerous innovative internal moving parts to deliver a highly adaptable and transformative facility.
  • Operable walls, two 320-seat rotating auditoriums and hinged seating in the main Plenary Hall allow it to be arranged into more than 15 different configurations.


  • Sustainability was integrated throughout the design process, with complex fluid dynamic modelling and clever energy management systems combined with state-of-the-art smart LED lighting systems to deliver a 27 percent lower energy consumption than the original building.

More information on the Adelaide Convention Centre’s design story is available here.