Port Adelaide Renewal – Hart’s Mill Surrounds
A new playspace by Aspect Studios at a historic flour mill balances vibrancy with substance, leading the revitalization of Port Adelaide’s post-industrial waterfront. The design was developed to reveal the cultural significance of the Mill and its surroundings as a key piece of industrial heritage. The playspace was designed thematically to reference the milling processes and array of smaller elements.
Hart’s Mill Surrounds is a revitalised and attractive public realm in Port Adelaide, located adjacent to the wharf with a backdrop of one of Adelaide’s most iconic heritage buildings and on a newly established hike and bike loop around the former harbour and Port River.
The playspace, as a major feature of the site, provides an engaging, contemporary and original play facility catering for children of all ages and importantly, adults. With a focus on inclusivity, the space is designed as an integrated part of the whole precinct, complemented with raised grassed platforms suitable for a range of organised events, markets, and social gatherings. A long shelter provides space for tables and BBQ facilities, situated overlooking the Port River and allowing multiple groups of people to gather and share the space.
Extensive community consultation was undertaken by the Government to develop the initial brief for the design of the Hart’s Mill surrounds. Initial consultations with the local community indicated that the site must maintain its historic and industrial feel but that there was a fundamental need to enliven and reactivate the space. Mulloway Studio were part of the project team and were instrumental in the Heritage Mapping of Port Adelaide. The market place that now inhabits the site every Sunday was carefully considered throughout the design process to ensure appropriate facilities and functionalities were incorporated. Festival organisers were consulted in order to maximise the potential of the site and design considerations such as skip bin planters are moveable in order for spaces to be flexible.
While the overall design responds to the strict briefing parameters of use, budget and safety, the conceptual framework is drawn from a thorough understanding of the history of the place. The interpretive response to the milling process, the re-use of existing timbers, and the industrial aesthetic and bold colouring are reflections of the former use of the place and provide an outcome that is both unique and sensitive to the cultural significance of the place. Using simple and durable materials coupled with exquisitely detailed interpretive elements that weave a narrative of the sites history, the precinct is a living museum with an inbuilt flexibility allowing for transformation into a dynamic event space.
The project team considered the potential timeframe for further redevelopment (likely to be 20 years or more) and ensured that the works were durable and of lasting quality – an authentic response to the port environment. The extensive use of wide plinths of insitu poured concrete as containers to park areas is one such example of simple design solutions with long term durability benefits, along with reuse of wharf timbers. All play equipment is of the highest standard and able to withstand the marine environment.
“Port Adelaide is one of Australia’s most valuable and least developed post-industrial waterfronts. Over the past decade it has been the subject of a slow-burn renewal through many state government and local council initiatives designed to re-energize “The Port.” Within this context, Hart’s Mill Surrounds has almost single-handedly transformed how South Australians view “The Port” by adaptively reshaping the precinct and opening it up for public uses. The former mill, a heritage-listed waterfront building, provides the backdrop for a contemporary new play space, while the sensitively and adaptively re-used flour shed is now fit for community uses. This has also enabled the completion of a hike-and-bike loop, and created a new destination as well as interpretation opportunities for the former industrial uses on the Port River. The contrast of the bright yellow play space against the red brick mill and expansive wharf areas creates a new experience as well as providing much-needed attention to the Port Adelaide community.” – Jury comment / AILA National Cultural Heritage Award of Excellence
ASPECT Studios has delivered a new, vibrant and attractive public realm for the Hart’s Mill Surrounds in Port Adelaide. Located adjacent to the wharf and with the backdrop of one of Adelaide’s most iconic heritage listed industrial buildings, the new space includes extensive new grassed recreation areas with trees, picnic and BBQ areas as well as multifunctional spaces for events and markets.
An innovative new play space themed around the site’s flour milling history is a key feature of the site. Its design draws on references of the numerous port trade activities in the wharf precinct and has been developed as a play facility aimed to have a regional level of attraction. The existing rail line has been retained and celebrated in its original state to maintain a reference to the past and the port’s important role as an export hub. The rail line is flanked by raised green platforms designed as vessels containing new park spaces within what is a highly modified and contaminated site.
The project has been delivered as a premier destination within a suite of ‘early win’ interventions that have been rolled out around the port with the aim of increasing visitation and providing greater access and amenity to the waterfront.
Project name: Port Adelaide Renewal – Hart’s Mill Surrounds
Location: Mundy St, Port Adelaide SA 5015, Australia
Coordinates: -34.843967, 138.498552
Type: Factory Space, Playground, Public Space, Riverside
Project area: n/a
Cost: $2.1 million
Completion Year: 2014
Client / Owner / Developer: Renewal SA – Level 9, Riverside Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
Landscape Architects: ASPECT Studios – 9-11 Bailey Street, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000, Australia
Project Team: Tim Conybeare, Ben Birdseye, Ying Qian
- Structural/Civil Engineer: engineer SMEC
- Services engineering: Lucid Consulting Australia
- Architect: Mulloway Studio
- Irrigation: Hydroplan
- Lighting: Lucid Consulting Australia
Text Description: © Courtesy of ASPECT Studios
Images: © ASPECT Studios, Don Brice, Renewal SA