Activate (1990's - present)
The grand plans for the redevelopment of Adelaide’s historic East End market precinct evaporated in the face of the property crash and recession that paralysed Adelaide into the 1990s. The old produce markets had gone and the eclectic and bohemian character of the precinct was ebbing away, with nothing to replace it. In an inspired move, two development veterans were encouraged to buy into the challenge of restoring life to the area.
Guided by a cursory master plan, the site was divided into two parts: residential to the South, which was placed in the hands of Max Liberman, and the part facing north on to Rundle Street going to Theo Maras for predominantly commercial development. Tectvs was engaged to oversee the revitalistaion of most of the heritage buildings and the construction of the first two new buildings on the street in 100 years. The small scale and historic character of Rundle Street demanded that new buildings respect their neighbors; the challenge for the modernists of Tectvs was to achieve this without resorting to stylistic contextualism. The buildings were systematically updated, upgraded and let. The East End continues to evolve as it should in line with the ever-changing demands of economic and social trends. Tectvs has played a role in the generic resuscitation of the East End, as well as the delivery of a number of individual projects.
Described in a favorable critique as “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. It was awarded a Commendation in the 1997 City of Adelaide Prize.
The iconic book outlet relocated to Rundle Street as part of a strategy to attract known brands to aid the revival of the East End. Tectvs captured the spirit and individuality of an Adelaide institution with a bright and inviting interior, appealing to all ages. It received an Award of Merit (Retail) from the Design Institute of Australia in 1997.
The old three-storey Hayborough Building on Rundle Street has been home for a kaleidoscope of traders and merchandise in its basement and ground-floor tenancies since the 1880s. Over this time the street-level character had become disconnected from the intact Renaissance-style facade above and, behind the facade, two dilapidated floors, long unoccupied, were in danger of collapse. Tectvs was engaged to stabilize the Heritage-listed building, reinvigorate it aesthetically and commercially, and reconnect it with the street.
RAIA Commendation (Art and Architecture) 1994
olourbond Award of Merit 1994
The long dormant East End, once the colourful hub of Adelaide’s wholesale fruit and vegetable trade, slowly returned to life as a café zone and a place to be and be seen in the late 1980s, especially Rundle Street. Initially derailed by the recession of the early 1990s, it regained its momentum and became the city’s prime destination for the café set and the new bohemians. Permanent residents began to fill the new apartment developments that were the product of a government initiative to return life to the historic precinct. By the time Tectvs was engaged to design a café on Rundle Street, the strip was saturated with restaurants and food outlets; it was getting hard to create a point of difference.
The eclectic Blue Iguana fitout was one of a number of casual-dining spots designed by Tectvs in the first wave of redevelopment in the1990s, including Taj Tandoori, Ottomans, Red Rock Noodle Bar, Sweetwater Brasserie and Lemon Grass Café. Blue Iguana received an RAIA Commendation (Art and Architecture) in 1994, and Lemon Grass an American Express Best New Restaurant Award in 1997. The design and fitout met the challenge of the brief and was acknowledged in the RAIA Awards of 1994. In awarding a Commendation, the Awards jury noted: “Art and architecture are integrated formally and spatially and via the interplay of text and colours.”
Twenty years after starting the commercial revitalisation of the East End, developer Maras Group relocated its offices to the East End in space redesigned and fitted out by Tectvs atop the historic two-storey Charlick Building on the corner of Rundle Street and Ebenezer Place. Tectvs designed the corporate spaces and meeting spaces and enclosed them in a lightweight glass structure, an urban conservatory that opened on to outdoor decking and looked over the precinct that developer and architect helped revive in a relationship that continues today.