Adelaide Festival, with Artistic Directors Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy, commissioned the new Adelaide Festival Club - a temporary pavilion for events during the 2021, 2022 and 2023 festivals - situated in Kaurna Country along the banks of Karrawirra Pari (River Torrens).
The elegance of The Summerhouse pavilion, combining versatility with equal-parts simplicity and sophistication, has resulted in a worthy winner. Like the venerable Spiegeltent before it, The Summerhouse can come and go with the festival it celebrates, creating a memorable setting for Adelaide Festival’s performances. In practical terms, the planning and resolution of services and movement of patrons and staff combine to keep back-of-house tucked neatly away and all action on the performances. There is a well-organized space for a sickle-shaped bar and an expansive central performance arena formed by the overlap of smaller and larger circles in plan: an elegant solution. Beyond the clever response to planning challenges, the pavilion is visually striking. It creates an identity and beacon for the festival in a way that is highly original. A sense of drama and ephemerality combine with projection and lighting to render the pavilion a canvas that can be packed away and brought out again with a new lease of life for each festival season.