Harts Mill

Project Name: HARTS MILL

Recipient: ASPECT Studios

Client: Renewal SA

Project team: 

  • Mulloway Studio
  • Lucid Consulting Australia
  • SMEC
  • Hydroplan

Project address: Mundy Street, Port Adelaide SA 5015

Hart’s Mill Surrounds is a revitalised and attractive public realm in Port Adelaide, located adjacent to the wharf with a backdrop of one of Adelaide’s most iconic heritage buildings and on a newly established hike and bike loop around the former harbour and Port River.

The playspace, as a major feature of the site, provides an engaging, contemporary and original play facility catering for children of all ages and importantly, adults. With a focus on inclusivity, the space is designed as an integrated part of the whole precinct, complemented with raised grassed platforms suitable for a range of organised events, markets, and social gatherings. A long shelter provides space for tables and BBQ facilities, situated overlooking the Port River and allowing multiple groups of people to gather and share the space.

Extensive community consultation was undertaken by the Government to develop the initial brief for the design of the Hart’s Mill surrounds. Initial consultations with the local community indicated that the site must maintain its historic and industrial feel but that there was a fundamental need to enliven and reactivate the space. Mulloway Studio were part of the project team and were instrumental in the Heritage Mapping of Port Adelaide. The market place that now inhabits the site every Sunday was carefully considered throughout the design process to ensure appropriate facilities and functionalities were incorporated. Festival organisers were consulted in order to maximise the potential of the site and design considerations such as skip bin planters are moveable in order for spaces to be flexible.

While the overall design responds to the strict briefing parameters of use, budget and safety, the conceptual framework is drawn from a thorough understanding of the history of the place. The interpretive response to the milling process, the re-use of existing timbers, and the industrial aesthetic and bold colouring are reflections of the former use of the place and provide an outcome that is both unique and sensitive to the cultural significance of the place. Using simple and durable materials coupled with exquisitely detailed interpretive elements that weave a narrative of the sites history, the precinct is a living museum with an inbuilt flexibility allowing for transformation into a dynamic event space. The project team considered the potential timeframe for further redevelopment (likely to be 20 years or more) and ensured that the works were durable and of lasting quality – an authentic response to the port environment. The extensive use of wide plinths of insitu poured concrete as containers to park areas is one such example of simple design solutions with long term durability benefits, along with reuse of wharf timbers. All play equipment is of the highest standard and able to withstand the marine environment.