Australia’s first convention centre has been reborn as the nation’s newest, with the completion of the Adelaide Convention Centre’s two-phase $397 million redevelopment. The second and final stage of the redevelopment, the new East Building was officially opened on 30 August by the South Australian Premier, the Hon. Jay Weatherill, MP.
The expansion has not only transformed Adelaide’s skyline with two new buildings, but boosted plenary capacity to 3,500 and the Centre’s overall footprint to 20,000sqm of multi-purpose space, enabling the venue to not only host much larger events, but also a number of smaller events simultaneously.
A Spectacular South Australian Showcase
Adelaide’s newly expanded Convention Centre was officially launched with a creative showcase of South Australia’s finest. Attended by government dignitaries, key conference organisers from around the country and Adelaide Convention Centre clients, the event shone a spotlight on not only the Centre’s incredible innovation and market-leading capabilities, but also engendered a tremendous sense of South Australian pride.
The opening sequence—a spectacular flame, fireworks and light show—celebrated the Adelaide Riverbank Precinct, Australia’s best connected business events precinct. This was followed by a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ and smoking ceremony by Major Sumner and friends to cleanse the new meeting place. Guests were then treated to a true sensory experience that evolved into a technological showcase, highlighting the East Building’s unmatched flexibility and innovation. The latest audio-visual technologies were demonstrated via wall-mapping of the new Plenary Hall along with use of holographic images, which included the South Australian Premier addressing guests as a hologram, before appearing in person to complete his opening address. Other highlights of the evening included a special performance by the Adelaide Youth Orchestra joined by one of the city’s hottest acts, Tkay Maidza, illustrating the Centre’s commitment to supporting local youth and talent, before guests feasted on a smorgasboard of South Australian produce.
Innovation and Flexibility
The completion of the Adelaide Convention Centre’s expansion positions the venue as not only Australia’s newest, but also the nation’s most flexible and technologically advanced convention centre. The centrepiece of the East Building’s innovation and flexibility is its new state-of-the-art Plenary Hall, which has tiered seating for 3,500 or offers 3,000sqm of flat floor space for exhibitions or banquets. Illustrating the Hall’s extreme flexibility, it is capable of being sub-divided into more than 15 different configurations.
“Our newly expanded facility represents a new breed of convention centre in terms of its innovation and flexibility,” comments Alec Gilbert, Chief Executive, Adelaide Convention Centre. “The East Building brings together rotating drums, hinged seating and operable walls in one building for the first time, making it one of the most flexible convention centres in the world, and providing exciting and creative opportunities for event organisers.”
The Plenary is also home to a spectacular “Starry Night” aerial backdrop, featuring more than 35,000 fibre optic lights. Additional highlights include a striking Skyway (elevated walkway) which seamlessly connects the Centre’s three buildings, and Home Ground café court, which is set to launch in November and will provide an ideal setting for after conference hours networking.
A Positive Outlook
Early response to the newly expanded Adelaide Convention Centre has been extremely positive, with 95 major conferences already secured for the new venue through until 2020. The first major event to be held in the expanded venue is the International Astronautical Congress, scheduled 25 – 29 September. The world’s largest annual gathering of space professionals, it is also the largest event of its type ever hosted in Adelaide, with more than 3,500 international delegates set to attend. The International Astronautical Congress is a fitting event for the expanded centre as the venue and city are very much focused on innovation and future possibilities.