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Australian Space Agency HQ planned for former Royal Adelaide Hospital site

The Australian Space Agency will be based on a site formerly set aside for a contemporary art gallery in central Adelaide, the federal and state governments have announced.

The Australian Space Agency was established in July 2018 and will be “responsible for whole-of-government coordination of civil space matters” and act as “the primary source of advice to the Australian Government on civil space policy.”

Prime minister Scott Morrison said, “Our government’s $41 million investment into the Agency will act as a launching pad to triple Australia’s space economy to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 jobs by 2030.”

The Space Agency HQ forms part of a new City Deal for Adelaide, with a memorandum of understanding signed by the prime minister and South Australian premier on 12 December.

A part of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site was previously the subject of an international design competition for a major contemporary arts gallery initiated by the previous Labor state government.

The winning proposal for Adelaide Contemporary by Diller Scofidio and Renfro and Woods Bagot.

The winning proposal for Adelaide Contemporary by Diller Scofidio and Renfro and Woods Bagot.

Image: Diller Scofidio and Renfro and Woods Bagot

The competition was won by Diller Scofidio and Renfro and Woods Bagot, over entries from teams of international and Australian practices, with a proposal that included a dramatic “super lobby,” floating “sky galleries” and a suspended rooftop garden.

Prior to its election, the Coalition government touted an alternative proposal for the ORAH site that would include an Aboriginal art and culture gallery and a 16-storey hotel, which it then confirmed as its preferred alternative to the gallery plan in its 2018-2019 budget.

Woods Bagot, Oculus and Right Angle Studio have prepared a masterplan for the site, now known as “Lot Fourteen,” which indicates a “cultural attractor” on the site where the mooted Adelaide Contemporary gallery would have stood.

According to the state development agency Renewal SA, Lot Fourteen and will become “Australia’s first creation and innovation neighbourhood. A number of former hospital buildings will be adaptively reused as part of the redevelopment and parts of the seven-hectare site have also been partially demolished.

Alan Tudge, cities and urban infrastructure minister, said, “The agency location and the Adelaide City Deal will align to allow better management of population growth and city planning.”

“This will ensure jobs, infrastructure, services and public spaces are in place to create a faster-growing, productive and liveable Adelaide.”

The tripartite City Deals funding and investment model sees “deals” struck between state, federal and local governments to secure long-term funding for major projects. Darwin is the most recent subject of a deal, with a $200m investment in the redevelopment of its city centre.

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