GHD Woodhead designed the winning bid with the Adelaide Aqua consortium for the Adelaide Desalination Plant and Kauwi Interpretive Centre.
The design team used an ‘integrated industrial design’ approach to ensure that the desalination plant met the requirements of a significant work of public architecture by developing a consistent architectural language across the site that complements the state-of-the-art water processing facility. Located at Lonsdale, near Port Stanvac, the AUD1.824 billion plant can deliver up to 100 billion litres of water each year, contributing to half of Adelaide’s water supply.
The Kauwi Interpretive Centre educates and inspires visitors through the interpretation of narratives about water use and the desalination process. The name ‘Kauwi’ can be translated as ‘water’, and comes from the local Kaurna Aboriginal language. The built form is designed to allow people to find their own way through the interpretive elements. The architectural design reinforces this approach by providing multiple pathways through and around the interpretive displays and earth walls. At the same time, the user has an ‘unfolding’ spatial experience – views are gradually revealed as one moves through the space, ending with dramatic views out over the coast and to the desalination plant.
The design process was highly collaborative, involving interpretive specialists, graphic designers, educators, landscape architects and the clients. A vital thread through the process has been the ongoing consultation with local Kaurna Aboriginal groups and artists.