‘Revitalised’ mall gets big tick from NT Architecture Awards



Above: The moth shade structures, a signature part of Susan Dugdale and Associates’ revitalising design for Parsons Street and Todd  Street North. Photo from our archive. Below right: Pip McManus’ public art intervention on a set of the shade structures. Photo supplied by McManus.

Alice Springs has dominated the NT Architecture Awards announced last Friday, with Susan Dugdale and Associates taking out the top award, plus awards for urban design, steel architecture and commercial architecture.
Scooping three awards was the company’s design work on the CBD Revitalisation, specifically in Parsons Street and what has become Todd Street North, following detailed consultation and recommendations led by Steve Thorne of Design Urban Pty Ltd.
p2101-Mothshade-from-aboveThe project took the top honour, the Tracy Memorial Award, as well as the George Goyder Award for Urban Design and the COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture.
The company previously won the Tracy Memorial Award in 2013 for the Green Well Building on Bath Street.
This year’s jury highlighted “local community benefits, environmental response and cultural aspects” of the CBD project. It had “successfully incorporated the environmental and indigenous heritage of the community, reduced the street clutter and provided a comfortable and colourful resting point for locals and visitors alike”.
The jury commended the Town Council and community for “initiating and supporting this project”, and the designers for “delivering this first stage which has the potential to increase public enjoyment, vibrancy and cultural engagement and positively shape the future of Alice.”
The Commercial Architecture award was for the new headquarters of Asbuild, on Smith Street.
p2250-Architect-Desert-HousAn Alice Springs residence (the Desert House, as pictured on the architects’ website), designed by a NSW company, Dunn and Hillam Architects, won the award for Residential Architecture.
The Alice Springs Railway Station, designed by South Australian Guy Maron (particularly known for his Bicentennial Conservatory in Adelaide), took out the Enduring Architecture award.
The multi-purpose hall at the Alice Springs Youth and Community Centre won a commendation in the Public Architecture category for Tangentyere Design.
Meanwhile, the Town Council’s Director of Technical Services Greg Buxton voiced his pleasure in the awards for the CBD project at last night’s meeting, but it has not been a straightforward case of ‘build it and they will come’. One significant barrier to vitality remains with the inward facing Alice Plaza, not assisted by vacant tenancies.
There was no comment, in the open section of the meeting at least, about the potential impact on the mall of the announced ‘vision’ of the NT Government for a new commercial centre at the CBD’s edge, in Whittaker Street.
Councillors had before them an update on the Todd Mall Association, which has languished since the resignation of its energetic chair, Paul Darvodelsky, owner of the Alice Springs Cinemas. This may change if Deputy Mayor Kylie Bonanni takes over. She has expressed an interest in doing so, but at present is on six weeks’ personal leave from her council duties.
The association has $34,000 left in its promotions budget but the only taker is the council itself, allocating $1500 to the purchase of lights for the civic centre, $500 for the Christmas window display prize, and an estimated $8,700 for the creation of 38 banners. These will be installed on light poles up and down the mall. They will read ‘Welcome’ on one side and the Arrernte equivalent expression, ‘Werte’, on the other.
In a related matter councillors approved of the installation of three more moth shade structures in Todd Street North in front of the cinemas. The seat and bike racks there will be relocated.


  1. If that’s the best they can do, God help us. I see it as eyesore. The new mall is dirty and requires a lot of upkeep and cleaning.

  2. “Revitalised” is really the joke of the town. It’s like a ghost town street most days. Money well spent town council, you’re doing a great job.

  3. The comments are if you fired a shot gun down the street, you would not hit anyone.
    I didn’t think that scrap was worth so much money.

  4. I keep coming back to the idea that we’re flogging a dead horse with our obsession with the Todd Mall, or at least with its southern half that can still lay claim to being a mall.
    As for the northern half, for all the money spent and award-winning designs put into it, the phrase lipstick on a pig does spring to mind.

  5. The “revitalised” Mall? Good try .. but the result is ziltch, and it costs a 6% increase in our next rates.
    Why is it that most people – those who can afford it – love going to the “charming” old townships of Europe or Asia?
    Because some human feel was retained over the years, with mature trees and wooden benches and perhaps just the right statue in the right corner.
    Alice was a special outback town: unfortunately our council put so much effort in making it grey and cold, killing the spirit!

  6. For those dissatisfied with the Todd Mall Revitalisation I would suggest taking your grievances up with the Alice Springs Town Council.
    The project ran smoothly until it was handed over to the council to manage and simple they botched it and dumped it down and stamped they’re egos all over it, hence it hasn’t quite delivered.
    Given a freshen up in council leadership and management in the near future the foundations of a vibrant prosperous mall can be salvaged without too much effort.

  7. The quirky people who hand out the awards must be as blind and eccentric as the people who did the design of the mall.
    It’s all about getting awards and big noting yourself as an architect and not designing something that is attractive or practical to the town or its people.
    What a total waste of money.
    Perhaps awards should ONLY go to designs that work and make a GOOD difference which are a delight to the community?
    Some architects wouldn’t get many awards. I don’t think I’ve heard one good thing about the northern end of the mall thus far.


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