City of Adelaide Prize – Commendation 1997
Tectvs was already a contributor to the revitalisation of the East End through its residential and restaurant design input when another, related, industry boom provided a new opportunity. Cinema was enjoying a resurgence after a downturn as people went through a phase of choosing to watch movies at home on video. The upsurge in mainstream movie ‘megaplex’ developments was accompanied by the popularisation of the art-house cinema concept where the contemporary attitudes and values portrayed on film were echoed in the design of the theatre. The Melbourne-based Nova Cinema group had completed five such developments in Victoria; it asked Tectvs to design one for Adelaide on the last vacant site in Rundle Street.
The small scale and historic character of Rundle Street demands that all new buildings respect their neighbours. The challenge for the modernists of Tectvs was to achieve this without resorting to stylistic contextualism. A critique in Constructional Review magazine assessed that Tectvs did that by designing “essentially an elegant concrete box contrasted with sleek copper and steel elements”. The two-storey building housed a three-screen cinema on the first level and nine ground-floor tenancies fronting Rundle Street and Ebenezer Place.
Future-use considerations were a key factor in the Tectvs solution. The major structural and fit-out components were prefabricated, allowing construction to be fast-tracked over 10 weeks. It also provided flexibility and adaptability for major interior modifications if the marketplace of the future dictated a change in use – the cinema could be removed, a new floor inserted and the basement carpark excavated for conversion, for example, to residential or commercial use.
Nearly two decades on, Cinema Nova has established itself as a timeless icon within Adelaide's famous East End. The cinema development was a key agent in the revitalisation of the whole precinct itself, which to this day has high occupancies and a bustling cultural footprint.
Design Institute of Australia - Award of Merit (Retail Design) 1997
Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia - (Lighting Award) 1997
Located on street-level within the Cinema Nova complex, Iconic books outlet Mary Martin relocated to Rundle Street in the city’s people-magnet East End precinct in 1997. The bookshop had been languishing in the CBD after its founder - Australian literary figure Max Harris - had sold it on. As part of a developer strategy to attract known brands to aid the revival of the East End, Mary Martin Bookshop was reborn through new location, new owners, new interior and reinvigorated brand.
Tectvs captured the spirit and individuality of an Adelaide institution with a quirky design that said ‘books are fun, enjoy them’. The interior reflected this: it was bright, inviting, appealing to all ages, its repositioning supported by the brand re-establishment of Ian Kidd Design. Mary Martin Bookshop became a hip new place in a hip new theatre complex, the Nova. It was a paradigm for the ongoing development of the East End, an ethos that thrives today.