State Library of South Australia

Our Institute Building restored to its former glory

Date: 12 March 2015

The scaffolding and fencing are gone to reveal our Institute Building standing proudly in all its glory, after the completion of the restoration project.

Newly restored Institute Building on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue 2015
Newly restored Institute Building on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, 2015 (Photo by Jenny Scott)

The restoration work, part of the North Terrace Redevelopment project, began back in October 2014. The project involved much needed restorative work, including a repaint, to prevent further long-term damage to the building.

Work included installing a strip drain around the perimeter of the building to keep moisture away from the footings and render. The painting, an important part of the project, was in keeping with the building's first unified colour scheme in 1908.

This important work could not have been achieved without the many people involved including the project partners Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, Arts SA, Hansen Yuncken, Studio Nine and Stevens Architects. Alan Smith, Director State Library of South Australia, acknowledges these many contributions, "from the moment the scaffolding went up to the moment it all came down again this wonderful building has been treated with the greatest care and respect."

South Australian Institute on North Terrace approximately 1975
South Australian Institute on North Terrace, approximately 1875 (B 10391)

The Institute Building has a long history and was built for the South Australian Institute which was established in 1856. Designed by Colonial Architect, Edward Hamilton, the building was officially opened in 1861, with a rear wing added in 1907. Today the Institute Building houses the Friends of the State Library of South Australia, Royal South Australian Society of Arts, State Library of South Australia Foundation, Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Circulating Library, and many of our exhibitions and lectures. More information about the history of the building can be found in the Institute Building Library Guide.

To celebrate the restoration, an exhibition of historical images of the building is now on display in the Anteroom of the Institute Building. The exhibition, South Australian Institute Building in Images 1864 to 2015, is open 10am to 5pm until the end of June 2015.

Story by: Tracey Parnis

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