Designed by South Australian architect Guy Maron and constructed to celebrate Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary, The Adelaide Botanical Gardens Bicentennial Conservatory is a modern Adelaide icon; its distinctive, glistening form being perhaps most appreciable from airplanes descending into Adelaide Airport. The design received an Award of Merit from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 1990 and the RAIA Sir Zelman Cowan Award, widely recognised as Australia’s leading award for public buildings. More recently the Bicentennial Conservatory was voted the 9th best building in Australia by The Australian newspaper in 2010, and received the South Australian Jack Cheesman Award for Enduring Architecture in 2014. The Conservatory was also State Heritage listed in 2014 as the youngest building to be placed on the South Australian Heritage Register at the time.
Architect Guy Maron’s distinctive design has been described as a well-executed South Australian example of a glass house in the ‘Late Twentieth Century Structuralist’ style of architecture, a technically excellent contemporary design solution responding to the problems of designing a tropical glasshouse within a dry, temperate climate.
The building is curvilinear in shape, being approximately 100 metres long, 47 metres wide and 27 metres high. An elegant steel superstructure supports 2,434 metres squared of toughened glass which forms the roof, walls and doors. Inside you'll find a lush display of lowland rainforest plants from northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the nearby Pacific Islands. Many of these plants are at risk or endangered in their natural habitats. A lower walkway winds across the undulating forest floor and an upper walkway takes visitors into the canopy of trees and palms. Both walkways have full wheelchair access.
Grieve Gillett Andersen Architects have previously undertaken heritage assessment relating to the Conservatory.