UN heritage award goes to Adelaide icon
Conservation work on Adelaide's historic Bonython Hall has earned the University of Adelaide international recognition, winning an Award of Merit in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards in Bangkok, Thailand.
It was the only Australian project and one of only eight from the Asia-Pacific region to be given an award in 2007.
Bonython Hall, located at the intersection of North Terrace and Pulteney Street in the city, is one of Adelaide's most recognisable historic buildings. Completed in 1936, the hall seats up to 1000 people and is used for University graduation ceremonies, conventions and major public events, such as Open Day.
"Bonython Hall plays a key role in the life of the city of Adelaide, and as the centrepiece of our graduation ceremonies makes an indelible mark on thousands of students who graduate at our University every year," said the University's Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor James McWha.
"The hall itself represents a history of quality education in Australia. The conservation work was therefore crucial in maintaining and enhancing this iconic building," Professor McWha said.
A UNESCO jury of nine international conservation experts praised the work on Bonython Hall, and noted its "excellence in standard-setting technical achievement".
"The university landmark has been given a new life through the consolidation of its collegiate Gothic features and the unobtrusive upgrade of its building services, thereby ensuring its continued prominence in campus life and its iconic value throughout South Australia," the jury said.
Work on Bonython Hall was started in 2005 and included significant reconstruction and maintenance of the northern turrets, which were deteriorating. The interior of the building was also extremely uncomfortable on hot summer and cold winter days, resulting in the installation of heating and cooling systems that did not impact on the building's cultural heritage value.
Conservation and heritage consultants McDougall & Vines and Swanbury Penglase Architects worked with the Property Services branch of the University on the conservation and restoration of Bonython Hall.
Professor McWha said the Bonython Hall project was the first in an ongoing program of maintenance, conservation and development of the University of Adelaide's 30 heritage-listed buildings across four campuses.
UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - promotes international cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.
Story by David Ellis