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Helping shape Adelaide's skyline: Brown Falconer Architects celebrates 70 years

9 June 2015    

Long-standing local architects Brown Falconer, the firm responsible for $200m worth of mixed-use projects currently taking shape around Adelaide’s CBD, celebrates a milestone year in 2015.

This week (May 29) Brown Falconer celebrates its 70th anniversary, as well as the official unveiling of its new headquarters in an historic former metal foundry on Chesser Street, city - now home to its 30-member multidisciplinary team.

With firm roots in Adelaide’s design sector, the award-winning team is looking forward to making an even stronger impact on local streetscapes and on people’s lives, as Adelaide strives to maintain its status as one of the nation’s most livable and best-planned cities.

Brown Falconer’s current mixed use projects include work on the redevelopment of the former Dreamland site on Grote St west including a $90 million apartment tower; the former Balfours site on Franklin St, with four apartment buildings and the $35 million apartment block at the Queen Adelaide Club site, on North Terrace.

Projects in Western Australia include the recently completed town centre at Harvest lakes and a main street shopping centre at Dalyellup. Similar projects are in the pipeline for the firm in WA.

Brown Falconer director, Mario Dreosti, also a former SA Institute of Architects Vice President, said the team’s move from Maylands to the city centre signaled a new era for the firm.

“Our hallmarks of enduring contemporary architecture and a service-focused approach have seen us expand into new markets and work with a wider group of people,’’ Mr Dreosti said.

“Our central and connected location in the city is making it easier for us to deliver integrated outcomes, and coordinated work from the whole team.’’

He said the firm was pleased to be part of the growing interest and activity in Adelaide’s apartment sector.

“Until 2010 when David Dawson joined as a director, we had only completed limited apartment projects. But that’s changing and we plan to do more of this type of work, while maintaining our presence in our traditional core areas of retail, health, aged care and education architecture.’’

Apartment sales in the Adelaide CBD are on the rise and are set to strengthen as population forecasts confirm a growing trend towards inner city living. Adelaide City Council has predicted that the city’s population will increase from 23,065 this year to 31,000 over the next decade, and increase even further by 2036, when the population is tipped to reach almost 39,000 residents.

Not surprisingly, the number of dwellings across the city is also set to rise, with the Council estimating the current figure of approximately 12,000 dwellings will increase to more than 21,000 over the next 20 years.

Mr Dreosti said the latest round of new apartment projects was building on Adelaide’s transformation as a world-class city, adding to other major initiatives in recent times such as the new Adelaide Oval, impressive upgrades to North Terrace and Rundle Mall, and the city’s vibrant new restaurant and laneway bar culture.

The firm, through Mr Dreosti, has been an advocate for reforming South Australian planning laws and ensuring that design features strongly and early in the decision making process.

“Our planning system is actually one of the best in Australia,’’ he said. “It does already offer the potential to operate in the way that we may see as ideal and it is perhaps cultural limitations that restrict its performance more than legislative.

“Recommendations from the expert panel on planning reform to embed design expertise in policy creation and assessment will lead to better outcomes for our state.”

He said planning and design wise, Adelaide was on a positive path and Brown Falconer looked forward to continuing to contribute meaningful designs in everything from residential, aged care and commercial to health and large scale mixed use developments that would help shape the city skyline.