Adelaide, Australia / 2013

Diamond Monolith

This project is a city that exists inside a mysterious diamond-like monolith. The project contains 50,000 square meters of museums and galleries, offices and creative lofts, and a hotel along with bars and restaurants at its three peaks. Public amenities and commercial retailers are located at multiple levels, rather than all clustered on the ground floor. The perimeter of the building is deeply undercut, releasing it from the land and giving the appearance of hovering above a small hexagonal footprint. Complete with its own ground, buildings, and cavernous urban spaces, the building is a self-contained world.

Too-Big Figure

The design is based on the idea of a nested figure that exceeds its container with strange consequences. The stepped, low-resolution inner figure penetrates the oblique surfaces of the diamond monolith to create unexpected jagged figures on the exterior and vast, hollow spaces within. The actual building enclosure is entirely poche; slicing the exterior mass, a second set of diamond cuts produces large areas of glazing to provide views and daylight for programs housed within.

The Tectonics of Reflected Light

The articulation of the diamond mass does not emphasize its form but rather works against it. Tattoos in the form of long white streaks scatter across the mass like reflected fluorescent light on black chrome. These tattoos change in width—from hairline to fat—and sometimes accumulate at mass corners, while other times they traverse mass-edges or changes in material without interruption. This misfit articulation simultaneously produces double readings and scale ambiguity, further removing the building from the realm of human consumption and understanding.

Location: Adelaide, Australia
Floor Area: 50,000 SM
Program: Mixed-use Development
Client: City of Adelaide