In March 2022, then Premier, Hon. Steven Marshall opened the first section of open space at the heart of the Festival Precinct. The ARM/TCL Design Team won the State Award for Excellence AILA Urban Design Award in 2018 for Festival Plaza design which had been initiated and coordinated by Renewal SA. The original masterplan for the project was completed in 2011 and identified the need for a new footbridge and large public open space tying together the important cultural, parliamentary, sports and commercial functions of the precinct together. In March 2022, completion of this first section of the project, connecting North Terrace, Station Road, King William Road, the Riverbank pedestrian bridge and the River Torrens lake, unified all parts of the Riverbank Precinct and welcomed the public to a festival of events and community space.
“Festival Plaza’s reimagined public realm has officially opened to the public, giving families and festival-goers a visionary new space to spend time in as they converge on different parts of the city for Adelaide’s biggest entertainment month.
Construction hoarding that previously masked significant features of the new public realm has now come down, revealing a 20-metre long interactive water feature and six 11-metre wide arbours. Bougainvillea and ornamental grape vines have been planted at the base of each of the immense, architecturally designed arbours to create a stunning shade canopy over time.
The transformed plaza has been rebuilt on one of Adelaide’s oldest plaza grounds but is now significantly redesigned and ready to delight. It also boasts refurbished artworks from the original Hajek Plaza, new establishing trees, expansive lawns for picnicking and 8,600m2 of paved, event-ready space.
It is expected to become a hotspot for day and evening entertainment, with an initial six-week program of curated activities planned at the plaza from 11 March 2022 onwards.
Known as Festival Plaza Presents, the activation program will showcase the potential of the plaza as Adelaide’s newest event and entertainment space. From pop-up cafes, bars and food trucks to live local bands and night-time light shows, the plaza is also set to become a place for children’s water play, street theatre, interactive art experiences, markets and roving performers.
The public realm upgrade has been co-delivered by Renewal SA in partnership with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Department for Infrastructure and Transport, Adelaide Festival Centre, SkyCity Adelaide and Walker Corporation. This collaboration has helped provide a seamless outdoor experience for visitors while fulfilling the over-arching architectural vision for the Festival Plaza site.
Further stages of the Festival Plaza public realm upgrade will be completed over time and once fully realised, unlock an additional 7,900m2 of renewed open, walkable space and feature ten additional arbours.”