Thursday, 19 July 2012


“Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

I’ve had a very gruelling day full of meetings, presentations, forums, and one-to-one meetings with academics today, with hardly any time to blink. However, all meetings went very well including one group meeting that threatened to go pear-shaped as a couple of the academics started to argue about a third colleague of theirs who was not present at the meeting. I tactfully and carefully defused the bomb of a situation and steered the conversation back to the realm of common sense and logic. It wasn’t pleasant and a little surprising, however, on reflection I can understand that these highly intelligent people also get very passionate and emotional and sometimes they are not beyond getting petty either!

I walked by the Adelaide Festival Centre on the way back to the hotel, but it started drizzling and it was late so I hurried back. The Adelaide Festival Centre was Australia’s first multi-purpose arts centre, built in 1973 and opened three months before the Sydney Opera House. The Festival Centre is located approximately 50 metres north of the corner of North Terrace and King William Street, lying near the banks of the River Torrens and adjacent to Elder Park.

It is distinguished by its three silvery-white geometric dome roofs and its plaza consisting of lego block-like structures to the south and lies on a 45-degree angle to the city’s grid. It is the home of South Australia’s performing arts. The Centre is managed by a statutory authority under the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust Act 1971 which is responsible for encouraging and facilitating artistic, cultural and performing arts activities, as well as maintaining and improving the building and facilities of the Adelaide Festival Centre complex. As well as the now annual Festival of Arts, the Centre hosts the annual Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June and OzAsia Festival in September, and the biennial Adelaide International Guitar Festival.

The Adelaide Festival Centre was built in three parts from April 1970 to 1980. The main building, the Festival Theatre, was completed in 1973, remarkably within its budget of $10 million. (The Centre was completed for $21 million.) In comparison, the Sydney Opera House, also completed in 1973, cost $102 million. The Festival Centre is known for the excellent quality of its acoustics. The Southern Plaza was completed in March 1977. The lego-like forms and colourful paint work across the Plaza were designed to conceal an air-conditioning vent at the same time as providing a playful place to congregate. However, Adelaide’s citizens never warmed to the idea, and it remains one of Adelaide's most under-utilised public spaces.

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