Modern function center plan for historic Rymill House

A ‘glass box’ function pavilion for up to 140 people is proposed to be built on the grounds of one of Adelaide’s most iconic mansions.

The Rymill House Foundation Trust has filed plans with the State Planning Commission to build a single storey function center on its East Terrace property bordering the park lands.

Described in planning documents as a “simple glass box”, the free-standing glazed pavilion would be built next to the state-owned Rymill House along its Hutt Street boundary.

Planning documents submitted for public consultation indicate that the building would span just under 250 square meters and house a small kitchen, toilets and space to host events for up to 225 people standing or 140 people seated. .

The trust, which raises funds to support educational, heritage, sporting and social organizations in South Australia, has previously erected temporary marquees on the grounds to host fundraising events, conferences and occasional weddings.

According to planning documents, the proposed permanent function pavilion would “support the charitable work of the Rymill House Foundation” and “provide a source of revenue which helps to support the continued care and conservation of historic Rymill House”.

“The intention is to repurpose the venue not only as a family home, but also as a pleasant and attractive venue for public functions while enhancing the spatial experiences of the garden,” the documents state.

“This expands and formalizes the current arrangement where events have taken place on the grounds of Rymill House since 2000.”

A rendering of the proposed function center at Rymill House. Image: Enzo Caroscio Architects

Inside the proposed function center. Rendering: Enzo Caroscio Architects

The view of the proposed function center from Hutt Street. Rendering: Enzo Caroscio Architects

The Hutt Street entrance to the proposed function centre. Rendering: Enzo Caroscio Architects

Patrons of the Rymill House Foundation Trust, including former South Australian Governor Hieu Van Le and the great-granddaughter of the mansion’s original owner, have endorsed and supported the proposal, planning documents show.

Originally named ‘The Firs’, the Queen Anne style Rymill House was built for prominent Adelaide businessman Henry Rymill in 1884 and remained in the family for nearly 100 years.

It was purchased by the federal government in 1950 and housed the postmaster general’s office until 1982, when it fell into disrepair.

The current owners, the Constantine family, purchased the property in 1998 and embarked on a painstaking restoration project.

Custody is now shared between the Constantine family and the Rymill House Foundation Trust, established in 2012.

Rymill House, listed as a state heritage site. Photo: Stephanie Richards/InDaily

According to a heritage statement, Rymill House is considered one of Adelaide’s ‘historic’ buildings and ‘one of the largest and most important 19and Century Park is home to the mansions that Adelaide is famous for”.

“The relatively large scale, stylistic qualities and location of Rymill House give it a substantial presence in the locality and it is something of a landmark,” the statement read.

“It is one of three park-fronted town mansions which (the original architect John) Haslam is said to have designed in the Queen Anne English style.

“He is believed to have introduced the style to South Australia. Interestingly, the style was largely abandoned after his departure.

Planning documents say the architectural firm that designed the function centre, Enzo Caroscio, met with Adelaide City Council and Heritage SA in August and there was “general agreement that the preliminary design complied with the relevant provisions of the planning and design code”.

The documents say that since the function center is expected to be only five meters high and its design differentiates between old and new, it complies with heritage regulations.

“The composition of the design is deliberately restrained – it is designed as a simple glass box,” the documents state.

“The supporting structure is concealed to a large extent by glass curtain walls capped by a soaring roof that projects and cantilevered at the south end to form a dramatic entrance statement that frames the views from the main west gable of Rymill House.”

The Rymill House Foundation Trust has also offered to build a four-car garage and storage building, as well as installing an elevator and erecting an exterior door to the house.

InDaily contacted the Rymill House Foundation Trust for comment.

The public has until February 2 to submit comments on the plans.

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