University of South Australia Signage

Honor Award

The Hawke Building is the new “front door” of the University of South Australia in Adelaide, one of the country’s top universities. It houses not only the university chancellor’s offices, but the Anne & Gordon Samstung Museum of Art and the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library and Centre.

Designed by John Wardle Architects, the building is a compilation of dramatic dimensional concrete forms spliced by a glazed prism entry.

Emerystudio (Melbourne) was commissioned to create a system of interior and exterior signs for the high-profile building. The Emery team envisioned a sign form characterized by lightness and simplicity, contrasting with the building’s heavy use of concrete.

Reminiscent of folded paper, the sign structures are tall metal panels mounted to concrete or drywall. The panels are screenprinted, enameled, and folded. The reverse sides of the panels are bright blue, which reflects onto surrounding white wall surfaces to create a halo effect.

Jury Comments: 

“Like folded paper, the sign forms have a lightness and delicateness to them. The typography rests gently on the surface of the sign panels with the delicateness of fine letterpress printing. A fine example wherein simplicity of form and typography executed with a master’s touch combine to speak clearly, quietly, and calmly.” “Superb austerity. Simple and pure. Beautiful indeed.”

Design Firm: 



University of South Australia, Adelaide

Location City: 

Adelaide, Australia

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

University of South Australia

Design Team: 

Garry Emery (principal in charge), Sarah Cope, Eva Lee


John Wardle Architects


Consolidated Graphics (primary entry sign and directory boards), Sign Scope (door and miscellaneous signage)

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