HASSELL: For 40 years, Rundle Mall in Adelaide, South Australia, has been a place for people to shop, dine and gather with friends. The Adelaide City Council commissioned HASSELL and ARUP to revitalise this much-loved civic space, creating an exciting destination and prosperous city precinct.
Rundle Mall became a pedestrian shopping district in 1976. Today it comprises over 700 retail stores, 350 commercial businesses, three department stores and 15 arcades connected by 10,000 sqm of open public space. To improve the mall’s urban environment and entice a broader range of visitors – and encourage them to stay longer and contribute to the local economy – HASSELL and ARUP led a collaborative design process to create a place that could adapt over time to suit the needs of South Australians. The new Rundle Mall needed to be a place that could grow along with the fast-changing nature of contemporary society, which favours experiences over static transactions – so it had to be able to support pop-up events and business through ‘plug and play’ infrastructure and anticipate future changes.
Our design for the revitalised Rundle Mall focused on creating more space for the public. By removing dated, superfluous structures from the mall’s central spine, we opened up the area to redefine its character and use.
The design was inspired by the shifting patterns of the South Australian landscape. A stone-paved promenade improves access, grading and flood resistance across the entire space. Timber plinths at the entrances have become popular gathering, and the doubling of trees throughout the mall will increase shade and comfort while framing views of heritage buildings. The central focus of the mall at the Gawler Place junction is highlighted by a beautifully lit canopy by night, setting the stage for productions and events.
Rundle Mall has become the vibrant, vital heart of Adelaide, and our short, medium and long-term strategies to attract people to the mall will ensure its future success.
Curated ‘pop-ups’ – like outdoor cinema, fashion events and music performances – by the Rundle Mall Management Authority, Council and other event organisers mean the environment continually changes over the days, weeks and seasons. The central promenade has also become a route for public parades and demonstrations.
“What’s important about the mall is the people and activity in it. It’s bringing the humanity back to what has become a commodity,” said Tim Horton, Former South Australian Commissioner for Integrated Design.
Project name: Rundle Mall
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Client: Adelaide City Council
Landscape Architect: HASSELL
Scale: 10,000 sqm
Photography: Peter Bennetts / Duy Dash, Courtesy Rundle Mall Redevelopment Authority
Site Plan: HASSELL
Awards: 2016 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (South Australia) Awards – Landscape Architecture Award for Civic Landscape