Our tour concludes at the National Wine Centre of Australia, the flagship of the Australian Wine industry; a cultural and educational centre for winemaking in Australia and a major tourist attraction. Designed by Grieve Gillett Andersen in association with Cox Architecture, the National Wine Centre was opened on the 6th October 2001. Intended as a world-class interpretive and education centre, the National Wine Centre housed offices for Australia’s peak wine industry organisations, an interpretive exhibition, educational facilities, function hall, restaurant, cellaring and tasting areas.
As described by the architects, the main central building of the National Wine Centre was designed to evoke a sense of space typically found within a winery. The construction itself was formed by the materials and textures that can be found at any vineyard, such as rammed earth, stone, timber, steel and stainless steel. The diagrid roof to Hickinbotham Hall, with its domestic scale timber elements, is precisely engineered to form a pre-stressed shell structure with stainless steel cables. The design exploits the innate quality of the materials in term of scale, texture and colour. As a good wine is clean, well structured, yet complex, the materials of the Centre are exposed in their natural condition where possible to display their intrinsic quality uncluttered by decoration. The materials and finishes gradually change from coarse and robust to fine and smooth surfaces, reflecting the increasingly refined aspects of the winemaking process.
As the first dedicated wine centre in Australia it was predicted that the National Wine Centre would quickly become synonymous with the tourism industry and an iconic venue for the City of Adelaide. Visitors seeking information regarding aspects of the wine industry, including wine growing, winemaking and new technologies being developed, could be satisfied. In 2003 the University of Adelaide was given a 40-year lease on the National Wine Centre, allowing the University to actively profile wine education and wine making classes onsite. The Centre continues to be a leading South Australian function space and centre of viticultural education and advocacy. Grieve Gillett Andersen has a continued involvement with the Centre and is currently preparing a master plan to guide the evolution of the facility.