The Market Tower

What is the Market Tower?

The Market Tower arguably takes out the award for the most unassuming historical landmark on the Adelaide skyline. It rises resolutely above the buzz of the Central Market and our conscious awareness. If it is unnoticed today, its has ostensibly been completely forgotten since construction.

It's three floors and rooftop overlooking Grote St have been largely unused since the buildings completion 115 years ago. Some say its intended purpose was for additional office space while others say its was a fire-spotting tower. One thing is for sure; it dominated the west end cityscape for over half a century.

The Market Tower Ideas Competition is pivotal in the story of this late nineteenth century Federation Free Style building. The competition aims to write a new chapter in the buildings history as compelling as the first. The competition is seeking the best design solutions that unlock the latent potential the Tower always had, but never harnessed.

Grote St Central Market facade

Source: Central Market: Grote St Facade (1899). James Churchill-Smith, BRG 80, State Library of South Australia.

The Submissions

The judging has been completed, the public has voted. Congratulations to the winners of the Market Tower Competition and all the finalists.

Winner: Market Brew
by Reuben French-Kennedy, Adrian Reveruzzi & Duana Fisher
Market Brew

Market Brew. Market Tower Ideas Competition Winner

Runner Up & Student Prize Winner: The Market Locker
by Patrick Scott, Peter Jacques Ayres, Alex Ricketts & Matthew Deutrom
The Market Locker

The Market Locker. Market Tower Ideas Competition Runner-Up

People's Choice Award: The Juke Box
by Jason Semanic, Alexander Sawicki, Megan Darbyshire
The Juke Box

The Juke Box. The People's Choice Award

You can check out the submitted design ideas for The Market Tower here.

Media and Press

Read more about the Market Tower Ideas Competition from press and media articles during the competition.

Competition Report

Download the Central Market Ideas Competition Report now.

This report summarises the winning designs from the competition and provides deliberation notes from the jury.
Got questions on what happens next? Contact the team.

Get Involved

The ideas competition has now closed. You can check out all the submissions here.

The Design Brief

Download the Competition Docs

Design Brief & architectural drawings

Build a team

Form A Team

Collobarate and innovate

Visit the Market Tower

Visit the Tower

Come along to a Tower tour

Check out the prizes

Check out the prizes

Learn more about what you can win

Create and Design your brief

Create & Design

Time to start work on your master piece

Submit your entry


Find out how to submit your entry.

The Central Market Architecture

A brief history.

  • The Central Market Beginnings


    The beginnings

    In 1869 the Adelaide 'City Market' is opened between Grote St and Gouger St. Two sheds 160 x 150 x 16 ft. in size are built and fitted with gas lighting. 100 produce carts started the routine of selling to the public on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.

    After 1869, more facilities were built to support increasing market operations. Among these facilities was a five-room dwelling for the clerk of the market and a two-storey 27-room hotel known as 'Langham Hotel' to accommodate stallholders. In 1884 a new brick frontend shed for a fish market was built on what was known as Town Acre 379 facing Gouger St. And by November 1877, it was reported that 'this City Market is slowly but steadily working its way into public favour.'

  • The Grote St Facade


    The Grote St facade

    The 'City Market' continued to grow, selling fresh and locally grown vegetables, fruit, fish, games meats and hay. Also at this point further plans were drawn up to improve facilities for traders and consumers, including what we know today as the 'Central Market Tower'.

    An impressive two-storey brick facade with a four-storey tower facing Grote Street was designed with Chief Draughtsman, R. Sloan working under the direction of the City Engineer, J. Vicars. Also included in the plans were provisions for an 80 x 32 ft. assembly room on the first floor for weddings, parties and dances to be held. The foundation stone brick of the new addition is recorded as having been laid 8 February 1900.

  • Central Market Expansion


    Further Market Expansion

    In l905 at the southern end of the City Market, seven shops (facing Gouger St) were demolished to make way for a two-storey building to accommodate a larger group of shops. This building was completed in l906 and is now an essential part of the market buildings on Gouger Street.

    In l906 alongside the Grote St brick facade, three additional two-storey shops were built. Together these buildings went on to become the successful ‘Empire Theatre’ that opened in April l909 and remained as such until closing in l952. Nearby, the ‘Hampshire Hotel’ was rebuilt in l9ll and also the theatre now known as 'Her Majesty's' and the 'Moore's' department stores (now the Law Courts) were built in l9l4.

  • Central Market Arcade


    Central Market Arcade

    In 1915 on the eastern side of the Market, construction on the Arcade began. The Arcade was built on vacant land between Grote and Gouger Streets extending from the eastern market roadway to 'Moore's' department store fronting Victoria Sq. The Arcade is 30 ft. wide, 201 ft. long and runs east to west from the eastern roadway of the market to Page Street.

    In December 1922 the lease to the fish market expired and it was decided that rather than renew the lease the facility would be demolished to make way for a further extension to the market. An additional arcade running north and south from the existing main arcade was erected, allowing for an extra 32 shops on each side. By l927 the City Market consisted of 252 stalls, three promenades, two roadways for vehicles with a center promenade running east and west.

  • The Depression hits


    The Depression Hits

    By 1931 The Depression had begun to effect trading at the Market and no major architectural alterations occurred for over thirty years until the 1960s. With Australia at war in the 1940s, a national building restriction was enforced and the city's development stalled.

    As the country emerged from the war period in the 1950s, planning began once again to upgrade the Market. During this period, the automobile was given the highest priority in the city. And so when the the Market was under redevelopment review between l955-56 a rooftop car park with room for 230 cars was featured in the plans to meet the accessibility needs of customers.

  • Central Market Redevelopment

    1963 - 1967


    By November 1963 redevelopment plans were finalised and building works commenced early in l965. On 17 June 1966 Lord Mayor Irwin officially opened the new City Market. On its first trading day the rooftop car park saw a turnover of 3600 cars. Behind the Grote Street brick facade, traces of the old market were removed and redeveloped. The 76 remodeled stalls were situated on six brightly lit malls running north to south and featuring mezzanine storage areas above. Escalators were installed between the ground floor and car park.

    Until 16 August 1965, the market had always been the City Market, after this date it officially became known as the Adelaide Central Market. In 1967, a 50-year lease was granted for the redevelopment of two acres in the eastern end that consisted of an arcade of shops and the Langham Hotel. In June 1968, work was completed and ‘C.J. Coles’ opened for business. This is where you can see Coles today.

  • Central Market Modern Developments

    1976 – 2003

    Modern Developments

    Between 1976 and 2003 the Central Market and the surrounding preceint experienced a number of small-scale developments and upgrades. Increased car park capacity and air-conditioning facilities amongst them. In the 1970s trade growth increased in both Moonta St and the Market Plaza (west of California St) areas. As south-eastern Asian migration increased into South Australia the market stalls and surrounding shops increasingly adapted to feature both South Australian grown and imported Asian produce. Consequently, a major Moonta St development in 1986 saw the addition of Paifang at the Grote St and Gouger St entrances. Paifang is a type of traditional Chinese archway. Chinatown is now a prominent area within the Central Market district.

  • Central Market Now


    The Market Tower

    The Adelaide Central Market Authority commissions an open ideas design competition to activate the spaces in the Market Tower - a structure forever unused since its construction in 1900. It’s original purpose and usage remains a mystery.

The Competition Jury

Meet the jurors who will be assessing competition submissions.

Rachel Hurst

Rachel Hurst

University of South Australia

Rachel Hurst is senior lecturer in architecture at the University of South Australia, coordinator of the design stream, and past recipient of the AIA Neville Quarry Architectural Education Prize (commendation 2008). A regular architectural writer and critic for the Australian design media, Rachel is contributing editor for Architecture Australia. She has an extensive research and exhibition background in cross-disciplinary practices, including curating four exhibitions and exhibiting locally and internationally in 20 shows. Her writing has been published widely, including in Eating Architecture (MIT Press, 2004), Food and the City (AD Wiley Academy, 2005) and Recto Verso: Redefining the Sketchbook (Ashgate, 2014). She is a frequent juror in the South Australian and Tasmanian Australian Institute of Architects Awards and in 2009 was a member of the National Awards Jury. Rachel is currently undertaking a PHD (by project) at RMIT with an emphasis on the multi-sensorial nature of everyday settings.

Mirai Morita

Mirai Morita

University of Adelaide

Mirai is a native of Japan who has lived and worked in various cities. She is currently a Lecturer at School of Architecture at the University of Adelaide. Previously worked at Atelier Bow-Wow, where she has been an integral part of the team for a number of years, worked on multiple projects at vari­ous scale, from residential housing to public projects and exhibits in Japan and Europe. She has also worked at OMA, Asymptote and Michael Sorkin Studio. With her experience of working with great talents around the world, she brings a particular set of ideas and skills eager to put to practice in real life conditions in hopes to contribute to creating intriguing spaces for people. She has master’s degree in architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture, and bachelors from North Carolina State University.

Tim Horton

Tim Horton

Architects Registration Board of NSW

Tim Horton is nationally recognised as an architect, adviser and agitator for smart policy that enables good design. He has worked in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Los Angeles in small and large practice, with executive-level experience in both the private and public sector. In 2014, Tim was appointed Registrar of the NSW Architects Registration Board; an independent statutory authority that exists to inform and engage people on issues of architecture in NSW. As a former founding CEO of the Committee for Adelaide and former Commissioner for Integrated Design based in Adelaide, South Australia, his interests lie at the intersections of design, technology, innovation and governance, architecture, city planning, and the application of research in creative public policy.

David Brown

David Brown

BB Architects

David Brown is the director of BB Architects, a specialist conservation practice based in the west end of Adelaide, South Australia. Its core expertise is advising on the restoration and adaptation of heritage buildings, designing additions to older buildings and integrating new buildings into old neighbourhoods.

Lily Jacobs

Lily Jacobs

Renew Adelaide

Lily Jacobs is the CEO of Renew Adelaide, a not for profit organisation that connects creative entrepreneurs with vacant commercial property to bring streets alive. She has had a long interest in the creative renewal of urban spaces and the potential for partnerships between typically commercial interests and arts activity. Lily is a former lawyer who finished dux of her degree and worked in commercial, property and intellectual property at the Federal Court and then at Camatta Lempens Solicitors. She also taught property law and urban theory at Adelaide University, previously studied architecture and has worked in events and administration for various arts festivals and music companies. Lily is the youngest member of the Economic Development Board of South Australia and also serves on the board of Brand SA.


For media or competition enquiries get in contact the team via email.

Ryan Kris

Ryan Kris

Competition Director

Branko Jaric

Branko Jaric

Competition Director

Anthony Balsamo

Anthony Balsamo

Architectural Consultant

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Central Market Towers