Adaptive reuse

photo-icon Grieve Gillett Andersen Architects

"The beautiful thing about working with existing buildings is the instant soul that you don’t get with new builds."

Tony Zappia, Studio Nine Architects (see former Providence Strict Baptist Chapel project)

Reusing heritage listed places for new functions has many sustainable, cultural, economic and place-making advantages.

A heritage adaptive reuse project gives new life to sites by retaining, rethinking and reworking a place. It adds another layer to the building's history and respects its significance without erasing its past.

We hope heritage property owners and professionals alike will be inspired looking through some of the successful projects undertaken in the City of Adelaide.

Darling Building, Franklin Street, Adelaide

This ‘Classical Palazzo’ style four-storey building was designed by the notable architect, EH McMichael in 1916 for John Darling and Son, wheat merchant and flour milling company.

Left idle since 1997, it was in a dilapidated state; home to squatters & vermin, pigeon infestation, leaks in the roof slab and subsequent flooding, sagging floors, and years of dust and grime.

The recent adaptation has bought back to life an office building which many deemed unfit for use.

Discover more about this project from part owner and architect David Burton.

Former Adelaide Brewery, Wyatt Street, Adelaide

The Adelaide Brewery was established by James Walsh and operated on this site between 1845-1902.

After being utilised as a car workshop and parking lot for a period, the extant 1870s brewery buildings along Wyatt Street have now been adapted for use as offices for the engineering firm Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec.

Learn more about this long-term visionary project from part owner Geoff Wallbridge and architect Elizabeth Little.

Former Providence Strict Baptist Chapel, Finniss Street, North Adelaide

The former Providence Strict Baptist Chapel was constructed in 1913 as a place of worship for the local and surrounding community.

As metropolitan suburbs developed and the city’s population declined, the congregation numbers also suffered.

The chapel was sold in 2016 and has been adapted into a private residence.

Get an insight into this project from owner/builders Tony and Rosetta Siciliano and architect Tony Zappia.

Mayfair before
photo-icon State Library of South Australia, B 7079, c1936

The former Colonial Mutual Life (CML) building was constructed in two stages between 1935-1936. It has since been adapted to become The Mayfair, a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and function space.

Photo credits: Above: State Library of South Australia, B 7079, c1936. Below: JPE Architects

Mayfair after
photo-icon JPE Architects
Electra before
photo-icon State Library of South Australia, PRG 631/2/124, c1910

The original Citizens' Life Assurance Company office was built in 1901 and was known as Electra House from 1940. It has recently been adapted to a restaurant, including a contemporary outdoor dining area, providing a new public use in a busy City street.
Photo credits: Above: State Library of South Australia, PRG 631/2/124, c1910. Below: Studio Nine Architects.

Electra after test web photos
photo-icon Studio Nine Architects
Beresford arms before
photo-icon City of Adelaide

The Beresford Arms Inn is the oldest remaining hotel building in the City of Adelaide and reputedly in South Australia. Constructed in 1839, it was first licensed in March 1840 and was known as the Oddfellows' Arms between 1856-1861. It was later used as a dwelling for a period before being severely damaged by fire. The site was then purchased by the City of Adelaide. After conserving the building, it was placed on the market and is now used as offices.

Photo credits: Above and below, City of Adelaide.

Beresford arms after
photo-icon City of Adelaide
Grote street before
photo-icon City Archives, HP0290, c1910

The former Model School was constructed in 1873-1874 and was divided into three sections to separately accommodate boys, girls and infants. In 1908 it formed part of Adelaide High School, along with the two buildings to the east. It has since been adapted for use as a childcare centre.

Photo credits: Above: City Archives, HP0290, c1910. Below: Flightpath Architects.

Grote street after
photo-icon Flightpath Architects
Stanley street before
photo-icon State Library of South Australia, B 1852, C1916

This former shop with a residence above was constructed in 1908. It is now solely used for residential purposes and the adaptation process provided much needed conservation work to the facade and balcony.

Photo credits: Above: State Library of South Australia, B 1852, c1916. Below: BB Architects.

Stanley street after
photo-icon BB Architects
Sturt street before
photo-icon State Library of South Australia, B 17669, c1967

This building has had multiple uses over the years but has remained largely true to its original form. Starting life as a chemist shop, its most recent adaptation to a private residence provided much needed conservation work to the façade, verandah and balcony.

Photo credits: Above: State Library of South Australia, B 17669, c1967.  Below: BB Architects.

181 sturt after
photo-icon BB Architects
Grenfell street before
photo-icon State Library of South Australia, B 10366, c1923

The former power station has been adapted into the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, known as Tandanya, which has become an important local cultural facility.

Photo credits: Above: State Library of South Australia, B 10366, c1923. Below: Panache Photography.

Grenfell street after
photo-icon Panache Photography.
Halifax street before
photo-icon City Archives HP12646

Adapting a portion of the former City Destructor site into a restaurant and public space (featuring the chimney) has provided a new use for this important visual icon of the City.

Photo credits: Above: City archives HP12646. Below: Adelaide Living

Halifax street after
photo-icon Adelaide Living
Tynte street before

Originally built as a shop with residence above, the building was adapted to become the North Adelaide Fire Station. It has since been adapted into themed holiday accommodation, providing a unique stay for visitors.

Photo credits: Above: Photographic survey of North Adelaide 1976. Below: City of Adelaide.

Tynte street after
photo-icon City of Adelaide
Victoria drive before
photo-icon State Library of South Australia, PRG 287/1/12/5, c1936

The Torrens Parade Ground and Training Depot was erected by the Commonwealth of Australia in 1936 as a military training depot and assembly ground for troops. The Depot was given back to the State in 2001. The building was subsequently adapted to provide a central city location for several ex-services organisations and the History Trust of South Australia.

Photo credits: Above: State Library of South Australia, PRG 287/1/12/5, c1936. Below: Grieve Gillett Anderson Architects

Victoria drive after
photo-icon Grieve Gillett Anderson Architects