Discovered ruin at the University of Adelaide

Our first project for the University of Adelaide opened this month. We redeveloped three learning spaces and created an intriguing breakout zone.

The new breakout area (above) has transformed a dingy, claustrophobic basement into a vivid place where you feel all the more immersed because it is windowless and subterranean. We began with the idea of discovering an unexpected ancient ruin in the basement of the Barr Smith Library. The ruin has various rooms—a vestibule, a conservatory, a parlour—which form the different zones of the space.

“The blue links the space together and represents a continuous journey of discovery and seeking knowledge. And our clients at the University refer to it as ‘down the rabbit hole.’”

—Amber Stewart, Associate and Interior Architect

Left to right: the garden, the vestibule, the drawing room and a hint of monstera in the conservatory.

We call this the Atmosphere Room, and it was inspired by connections to engineering and space travel. It’s one of two lecture theatres we refurbished in the Engineering South building.

“Everyone’s asking about the silver chair. Andy Thomas, the Australian astronaut, studied at the Faculty of Engineering so the chair is for him.”

—Amber Stewart

The Earth Room (also in Engineering South) has wallpaper that reflects the mineral energies of the oversized rocks on the carpet. We imagined rocks and minerals in a much more ephemeral state than engineers do.