Emerging Architect Prize Awarded to Alison McFadyen

July 2018

Phillips/Pilkington Architects are pleased to announce that Senior Architect, Alison McFadyen, was awarded the Emerging Architect Award at the South Australian Institute of Architects Awards this year.

"The Emerging Architect Prize prompted much soul searching this year.  The jury undertook a thorough re-examination of the criteria as it considered involvement in the profession outside of the workplace, especially current or immediate past involvement and the balance between portfolios which range significantly in years of experience across the definition of emerging.

After another year of tough competition, the jury congratulates Alison McFadyen as this year’s recipient of the Emerging Architect Prize.

Alison McFadyen is a senior architect at Phillips/Pilkington Architects joining the practice in 2012 and appointed Associate Architect in 2015.  Her design and project work is of an exemplary and award-winning standard and includes UniSA’s Jeffrey Smart Building, the Adelaide Oval Redevelopment and the Whitmore Square Affordable Ecohousing Project.

Alison is an active member of the Australian Institute of Architects and served as Chair for the 2018 State Architecture Awards for the Residential New Jury and was a juror for Heritage and Small Projects categories in 2017 and the Sustainability category in 2016.  She was also a key driver for the Institute’s One to One project.

Alison also lends her time as organiser, speaker and volunteer at a variety of initiatives such as Parlour, NAWIC, Trees for Life and a refugee childcare program illustrating her ability to represent the profession on a number of platforms.  Of particular note are the number of volunteer activities undertaken which have no relationship to professional or practice development or exposure – they are simply for the good of the community.

The jury commends Alison’s leadership and advocacy work and recognises her far reaching involvement and the resounding positive impacts this had on the profession and the community.  Alison shows great potential to continue this contribution throughout her career."

Jury: Mario Dreosti, Esther Chew, Erin Crowden, Katrina Swiatczak (AWS)

University of South Australia Jeffrey Smart Building and 46 MacKinnon Parade receive recognition at the 2015 AIA SA Chapter Awards

July 2015

At this year's South Australian Australian Institute of Architecture Awards event, the University of South Australia Jeffrey Smart Building, by John Wardle Architects in association with Phillips/Pilkington Architects, and the heritage residence at 46 MacKinnon Parade won awards in the educational, sustainability, interior and heritage categories. The awards are listed below with jury citations.

For a full list of the 2015 SA Chapter Institue of Architects award winners, click here.

University of South Australia Jeffrey Smart Building
2015 AIA SA Chapter Award for Educational Architecture

 "It has been said of Jeffrey Smart, the man, that ‘His work was always very considered, very deliberate and beautifully poised’, and that the public related well to his art (attributed to Nick Mitzevich, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia; posted 21 June 2013; ABC News Website; Jeffrey Smart, the building, can claim to have the same level of consideration, deliberation and poise; and has been received very well by its ‘public’.

This building adds vibrancy to the evolving campus and streetscape, while enhancing amenity for the University community. The café forms the interface with the public realm, permeable to both the street and the Hoj Courtyard, around which the building wraps. The angled glazing of the Hindley Street façade provides shading and reflects downwards the activity of the street. Both courtyard and building provide varied opportunity for social interaction.

The ground floor elevation to Hindley Street  and the entrance off the courtyard affirms a human scale. Looking upwards however, the significance of the building is realised. The abstracted pattern of shelved booksformed by its precast panels and the cap and cascade of lightweight cladding convey a sense of dynamism. The interior is finished with a more polished version of the exterior materials. Moving through the building, softer and more natural materials are introduced, providing wayfinding and acoustic benefits.

The building accommodates 21st century library services, teaching and learning spaces that facilitate self-directed as well as teacher lead endeavours, student services and administrative offices. Various meeting spaces, a technology hub, student kitchens and breakout spaces completethe student facilities. Integrated technology optimises activity throughout and the Forum space, with its state-of-the-art presentation facilities, provides a more formal presentation space. Largely ‘open-plan’, at least visually, areas are defined by activity. Excellent visual access throughout the building provides natural daylighting as well as serving to orient the occupant and provide views. This building, with its repetition of form, play of light and shadow with highly resolved architecture could well have been the subject of a Jeffrey Smart painting."

 - Citation written by the Jury for the Educational Architecture category

University of South Australia Jeffrey Smart Building
2015 AIA (SA) Derrick Kendrick Award for Sustainable Architecture

"As part of the University of South Australia’s major development programme, the Jeffrey Smart Building provides a range of student and teaching services including significant library uses and a central focus for the campus. The building and its immediate surroundings are highly accomplished architectural work, which demonstrates an integrated sustainability approach have been at the core of creating good architecture.

Providing over 13,000sqm of floor area, the building plays a prominent role in the urban framework of this part of Adelaide’s west end and as a result

demonstrates sensitivity to the social and cultural parameters of the area. The project’s address to the street, wrapping of a public courtyard, open ground floor spaces and active ground floor facades, together with a general spatial arrangement, ensure a maximised active street.

Throughout the upper levels of the building, natural light is maximised in study spaces by articulation of the floor plate, and the indent which defines the courtyard provides a form that creates high levels of natural light within the building envelope. At the same time windows are shaded and views through and beyond the building are maximised.

Future adaptability is considered in the floor construction and a robust material palette helps minimise ongoing maintenance. A range of water saving and other environmental sustainability measures are embedded and vertical circulation by walking is encouraged through the use of wide staircases.

An integrated approach to sustainability at all levels has developed an outcome, which provides a rich piece of architecture that contributes to the city while skilfully delivering its own internal programmes."

- Citation written by the Jury for the Sustainability category

University of South Australia Jeffrey Smart Building
2015 AIA (SA) Commendation - Interior Architecture

"The design philosophy of the new Jeffery Smart Building is evident from the entrance. A combination of a learning hub and a social hub, both new and established methods of learning and interaction are woven into the fabric of the building.

The ground floor provides both a successful public and semi-private space, utilising tiered seating to form a visually and tectonically rich and inviting amphitheatre. The five levels of learning and resource centre cleverly utilise the orientation, floor plates and the northerly aspect of the building to create a series of informal studying and break-out spaces, which are visually and acoustically separated by the main library collection. The structured active teaching spaces form the back of the building and provide a screen for the neighboring Remand Centre. The five floors are tied together by intuitive circulation paths and wide access stairs also doubling as emergency egress.

The finishes palette is a delight, exploring and challenging the accepted use of individual materials and material combinations, and resulting in avariety of textures, colours and shapes. In addition to accentuating the building’s strong angles while creating a warm and tactile interior. The use of timber and soft furnishings along the building’s north elevation study bench is particularly successful in enlivening the façade from Hindley Street through activity and passive surveillance.

The Jeffery Smart Building is a testament to a new paradigm that blurs the lines between learning and social interaction, between formal and informal, and tied together by a strong, confident, tactile and rich interior architectural design.

- Citation written by the Jury for the Interior Architecture category

46 MacKinnon Parade
2015 AIA (SA) Commendation - Heritage Architecture

"Remaining respectful of the1966 architecture award-winning residence by Robert Dickson, Phillips/Pilkington has created a modest, but thoughtful addition to a North Adelaide townhouse. The architects have maintained the intent of the original residence while updating and extending the house to suit today’s needs. Working with an informed client who appreciated the heritage values of the project, the residence has maintained its original form and materials palette as well as improving the connection back to its parklands context. The jury was impressed with the ability to still clearly see Dickson’s original work next to this new layer of architecture."

- Citation written by the Jury for the Heritage category

Susan Phillips and Michael Pilkington Awarded the 2014 Sir James Irwin AIA (SA Chapter) President's Medal

July 2014

At this year's South Australian Australian Institute of Architecture Awards event, Susan Phillips and Michael Pilkington, founding directors of Phillips/Pilkington Architects, were named the recipients of the 2014 Sir James Irwin President's Medal for their contribution to the architectural profession.

 "This year’s recipients of the President’s Medal have made significant contributions to South Australian Architecture through exemplary design practice, extensive teaching, community involvement and volunteering. 

After working in separate practices in Adelaide, they were fortunate to gain employment with Mitchell, Giurgola & Thorpe to work on the National Parliament House project.  They were particularly fortunate to work closely with the wonderful Aldo Giurgola and Pamille Berg so early in their careers.  It’s the kind of mentorship that few of us have enjoyed.  Giurgola’s influence was significant - demonstrating the importance of collaborative practice not only with other architects and designers but also artists.

It was this experience, together with community based work in London, that led them to winning their first significant commission in 1992 which specifically required collaboration between architect and artist. Giurgola’s influence has continued to inform their work through their attention to detail, sensible use of materials and the inclusion of artists in their projects.

They place particular importance in developing and enhancing the sense of cultural identity within their projects. They have a strong commitment to environmental responsibility which further reinforces sense of place by responding to local climatic conditions.  While their projects are sophisticated their architecture is accessible, down to earth and tangible.

They have both made significant contributions to the Institute through involvement in committees and the awards program and are well known passionate and articulate advocates for the importance of design and architecture in our community.  They have also been excellent teachers in the Schools of Architecture. 

It is interesting too that they have not only taught at Adelaide and volunteered at the Chapter but they have also been commissioned to improve both the Adelaide University’s Architecture School and the SA Chapter’s building in Flinders Street.

So there we have it - a local 22 year old practice that has unswervingly stuck to its principles of design excellence, collaborative practice, community engagement, environmentally sustainable design and advocacy while continuing to teach and nurture the next generation of architects.

It is with great pleasure that I present the 2014 President’s Medal to Sue Phillips and Michael Pilkington."

Awarded by Steve Grieve FRAIA

For a full list of the 2014 SA Chapter Institue of Architects award winners, click here


Adelaide Review Article: Smart by Design

June 2014

Jeffrey Smart Building

The UniSA Jeffrey Smart Building was recently featured in an article in the Adelaide Review. 

View the original article at, or see below for the text, by Leanne Amodeo.

Smart by Design
Published 6th June, 2014
The Adelaide Review
by Leanne Amodeo

With the opening of the new Jeffrey Smart Building, the University of South Australia offers its students and staff a world- class facility.

It was starting to feel like construction on the University of South Australia’s Jeffrey Smart Building was never going to finish. But after two years the much-anticipated addition to the City West campus finally opened its doors on April 28 to some fanfare. Designed by John Wardle Architects, who partnered with Phillips Pilkington Architects and also worked closely with Wilson Architects on the learning spaces, the eight-level 13,400sqm building is an imposing new structure situated in the far west end of Hindley Street.

The learning centre has already garnered the reputation for being a ‘one stop shop’ amongst students, as it not only houses the University’s library and a number of flexible learning spaces, it also accommodates student services, including Campus Central and Security and Campus Operations. For John Wardle Architects’ Senior Associate Meaghan Dwyer it represents a new approach to a university building. “Because we were providing a much more comprehensive service for students, there was a lot of time spent understanding the detail that needed to be included in order to make the building a success,” she says. “Rather than just designing it as a straight library, which is the more conventional approach.”

The new building’s function is as compelling as its form. The boldly angular, predominantly off-white precast concrete façade is in keeping with John Wardle Architects’ signature style, which is also evident across the University’s existing Wardle-designed buildings. But what sets the Jeffrey Smart Building apart is the substantial external recreational space it offers. “We conceived the ground floor as having the interior continuous with the exterior, so the interior spaces make sense when you understand them in the context of the courtyard,” explains Dwyer. “We see it as being an active and fluid ground plane that provides a range of settings students can enjoy.”

This variation is also continued throughout the building’s other seven levels with flexible learning spaces a defining design concept. Seating is a mix of in-built furniture as well as loose tables and chairs that can be re-configured to suit small or large study groups. The combination of different furniture types makes the interior spaces feel ‘crafted’ somehow and lends each individual alcove or hub unique definition. Giving students a choice in how they wish to occupy the building is a generosity on the part of the architects, making for a heightened user experience.

Colour also plays a key role in engaging students and the interior palette is striking for its boldness and variation. Dwyer is aware the building’s large scale disallowed the use of a single colour across all levels, as this would have simply appeared monotonous. The solution was to apply a different colour palette for each floor and these were selected from distinct South Australian landscapes. Not only does this work as a wayfinding strategy, but it also adds warmth. As Dwyer reflects: “We really conceived this building as being the heart of the campus in many ways; it’s a building that’s relevant to all the students and we dearly hope it’s a place they enjoy.”

Slash + PP win the Royal Adelaide Hospital Competition

November 2013

RAH Competition View of Plaza from Gardens

On Tuesday the 10th of December, it was announced that Phillips/Pilkington Architects and Slash Projects, Victoria, were the winners of the Master Plan for the Royal Adelaide Hospital Ideas Competition. Inspired by the site’s medical history, design seeks to rehabilitate the site via the removal of redundant elements and reuse of existing buildings. The city and park are linked together through new pathways, and a large public space is at the heart of the site. A highly diverse mixture of program, including galleries, retail, education, accommodation and cultural uses will ensure that the site is activated throughout the day and night, functioning as a ‘city within the city’.

The jury citation stated that:

"This submission expands the repertoire of civic spaces within Adelaide with a creative re-animation of the site’s historic fabric. While the existing city might be characterised as highly ordered and zoned, this scheme for a ‘miniature city within the city’ creatively and productively challenges this logic, within the extant framework. The reuse of existing buildings and the insertion of new elements represent an appropriate response that invites useability, delivers diversity and creates a new identity with sensitivity to the past. The design proposition is well considered, graphically clear and draws on a rigorous and emphatic examination of the site and its context.

The jury was impressed by the depth of research into the social and physical history and condition of the RAH site. This research was evidenced and brought to life at all scales by the design proposal; from the architecture to heritage, engineering and landscape. The design solves the essential challenges of the site with minimal impact, and celebrates a continuing presence for the hospital buildings with subtlety, humour and respect. It presents a strong and innovative attitude to heritage, that preserves existing fabric and historic value, while integrating a new aesthetic. In doing so, it offers a new identity for the site that extends rather than replaces its history.

The submission provides a convincing strategy to improve legibility and connectivity through and beyond the site, with the diagonal ‘slash’ stretching from the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road. This gesture is both a dramatic formal expression and a convincing mechanism that invites pedestrians into the heart of the scheme, providing visual and physical permeability to the heart of the site and the Botanic Gardens beyond. The open space throughout is clearly defined, with appropriate activation and a strong mix of uses throughout. The diverse building program, distributed across inter-linked buildings, suggests a site of constantly evolving relationships, opportunities and collaboration to support and expand the existing functions west of Frome Rd. In this sense, the scheme offers a vision for an evolving, dynamic civic place. The proposed functions extend the existing range of uses and programs offered by key stakeholders within an accessible, inclusive environment that is characterised by an innovative and engaging interplay of past, present and future.

This mix of uses was strongly supported by the jury, including the proposition for an urban high school, a boutique hotel and the new RaRa museum. The submission presents a high degree of sustainability through a sophisticated and layered approach centred on minimising embodied energy and waste, and combining both passive and active measures for both built form and landscape.

Finally the Jury considered this submission to offer a high degree of economic viability, with a range of inter-related functions that would suit university participation and would likely provide a reliable engine for activation on the site, supporting economic activity locally, and in particular the city’s East End. The proposal envisages a diversified and flexible approach to land use mix, which can respond to market conditions as they evolve. This makes for a robust and buildable vision, addressing all the criteria set out in the competition brief. The submission represents a convincing, pragmatic and exciting response to a large site that is likely to require staging."

To view more pictures of the scheme please click here, or refer to the Slash website and the official competition website

  • Adelaide Zoo Nature's Playground
  • University of South Australia Jeffrey Smart Building
  • Brougham Place Residence
  • Prospect House Extension
  • Woodcroft College Junior School Multipurpose Hall
  • Monarto Zoological Park Giraffe Feeding Platform
show project textshow project menu
News & Media