Wulanda Shines at the 2023 South Australian Architecture Awards

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DesignInc is delighted to announce that Wulanda Recreation + Convention Centre has been recognised in two categories at the 2023 South Australian Architecture Awards, winning a Public Architecture award and receiving a commendation for Sustainable Architecture.

The Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre is a remarkable facility that has replaced outdated aquatics and sporting facilities in Berrin/Mount Gambier. The design—inspired by the unique landmarks created by limestone sinkholes and ancient volcanic events in the area—offers spaces for sports, recreation, and community events and is a welcoming place for all to enjoy.

From the beginning of the design process and throughout the project, it was crucial to build an enduring connection with the community. The Centre was constructed with 40% local labour and involved 60 stakeholder groups, resulting in a high level of community engagement. The jury recognised that Wulanda is a prime example of how architecture can have a positive impact on a community while also prioritizing environmental needs. For longevity, materials such as timber and limestone were used which provide a multigenerational connection to the local timber industry.

2023 Winner, Public Architecture, Australian Institute of Architects (SA) Wulanda Recreation + Convention Centre
2023 Commendation, Sustainable Architecture, Australian Institute of Architects (SA) Wulanda Recreation + Convention Centre

Set within the Mount Gambier township, Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre intrinsically demonstrates how architecture can serve a community. DesignInc have provided an exceptional response to a complex brief, with multiple generations to benefit from the architecture of Wulanda.

2023 South Australian Architecture Awards Jury Citation, Winner, Public Architecture

While the intangible elements of Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre are the most striking elements of this project, environmentally sustainable design is made visible through exposed structural timber and 700kw solar array.

2023 South Australian Architecture Awards Jury Citation, Commendation, Sustainable Architecture

The jury also acknowledged the inclusion of details that cater to participants with additional needs. The design seamlessly integrates spatial and sensory considerations, allowing for dignified participation across all levels of physical ability and health, thereby enhancing the overall user experience.

The Centre’s success can be attributed to the outstanding collaboration of a team, which consists not only of architects, designers, builders and consultants but also broader stakeholders and members of the user groups that DesignInc engaged with during the project. Their contributions were instrumental in bringing this remarkable project to fruition.

We would like to express our gratitude to the Australian Institute of Architects and offer our congratulations to the other award-winning practices, as well as all those who took part in the 2023 Architecture Awards.

We are proud that the award juries recognised the design for its focused response to community needs, inclusive design throughout the centre, and integrated technical responses to environmental and social sustainability. We are pleased that the recognition showcases the region, and thank the City of Mount Gambier for the opportunity to contribute to such a significant project.

Ben Luppino
Associate Director, DesignInc Adelaide