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2016 National Architecture Awards: David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture

Tonsley Main Assembly Building and Pods by Woods Bagot and Tridente Architects Sustainable Architecture: David Oppenheim Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

Ten kilometres south of Adelaide’s CBD, Tonsley Main Assembly Building (MAB) and Pods demonstrates an exemplary commitment to sustainability outcomes and is the result of careful planning, an extensive consultative process and a dedicated client. Tonsley is the first Australian urban renewal project to be granted a six-star Green Star Communities certification award and its defining move – to retain its existing structure rather than demolish – is to be commended. The adaptation and re-use of the eight-hectare structure, formerly housing the Mitsubishi car manufacturing plant, acknowledge the importance of its cultural heritage, reimagined in a new urban context. They also equate to significant environmental savings normally associated with the costs of removal. Within the umbrella of the existing roof is a series of adaptable pods, meeting spaces and parks, with flexibility of use built into the design. The site’s story is ongoing and will be a work in progress for some time to come. Sustainability principles are at the core of the development, including clean technologies, sustainable energy, sensitive water design, passive ventilation and natural lighting. Interconnected paths for cycling and walking and access to public transport are also well considered. By acknowledging the social history of the site, while celebrating South Australia’s role in automotive manufacturing, MAB is a model for mixed-use developments and can act as a framework for other projects to recognize the opportunities that lie in industrial heritage.

Read the project review by Lindy Atkin from Architecture Australia Jul/Aug 2016.


Woods Bagot
Project Team
Woods Bagot project team: Thomas Masullo (director in charge); Gavin Kain (principal in charge); Milos Milutinovic (project leader); Yeung Cheng, Todd Hislop, Nicholas Ng, Andrew Fox (project professionals); Keith Dougal (interior design leader);, Graig Rogers (BIM leader); Michael Andrew (documentation leader), Tridente Architects project team: Nick Tridente (architect)
Tridente Architects
North Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Building contractor Lend Lease
MAB redevelopment team Woods Bagot and Tridente Architects; Atelier Ten (ESD); KBR (civil and structural engineer); WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff (services); JDR #1 (Pod engineers); Oxigen (urban design and landscape architect; Alexander Symonds (surveyor);, Katnich Dodd (building certifier); Rider Levett Bucknall (cost consultant)
Masterplan team Woods Bagot (masterplanning); WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff (civil and structural engineer); KPMG (business development strategy); 2XE (business productivity); Rider Levett Bucknall (cost consultant); Oxigen (urban design and landscape architect)
Strategic objectives team SGS Economics and Planning (customer benefit and economic impact awareness); Connor Holmes (precinct governance); Allen Consulting Group (economic development plan); Thinc Projects (project delivery and project management model); E&Y (business case);, KPMG (investment attraction strategy); Arup (Tonsley brand strategy); Martins (Tonsley brand identity); Robin Eckermann and Associates (telecommunications infrastructure strategy)
Site details
Location Adelaide,  SA,  Australia
Site type Urban
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Adaptive re-use
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2015
Client The Government of South Australia Department of State Development and Renewal South Australia (procurement and delivery)
Website statedevelopment.sa.gov.au



Published online: 3 Nov 2016
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2016
Images: Sam Noonan


Architecture Australia, November 2016

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