Tika Tirka – Student Accommodation


South Australian Housing Authority


Phillips Pilkington Architects

Client Project Manager


Delivery Model

D&C and GMP


Kaurna Country / Adelaide


12 months

Project Size

1,600 m2 and 140 m2 rooftop

Project Summary

DLG SHAPE was engaged by SA House Authority to provide a new ‘home away from home’ for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander students from remote and outer regional communities while studying in Adelaide. Built and operating on Kaurna Country, Tika Tirka, meaning to ‘sit/stay and learn’ in Kaurna language, comprises the construction of a new 3-storey, 20-bed apartment building.

Tika Tirka is based on a model to provide students with the best opportunity to succeed in their education, allowing them to live independently while fulfilling their cultural and heritage needs. To meet this brief, the layout and finishes were thoughtfully considered. DLG SHAPE and Phillips Pilkington Architects collaborated to design a community environment with references to Indigenous culture and access to the outdoor space. This resulted in a mix of social and study spaces, from a common living area, dining room, rooftop terrace and central courtyard, to ‘pods’ of three to four rooms with a shared living area.

DLG SHAPE was engaged on a D&C basis to achieve the required programme and budget constraints for the project. Once this was understood, the contract was converted to Lump Sum. The building is an on-ground, precast concrete structure with lift shaft and rooftop terrace. A very considered approach to planning and site set up was critical to the success of the build to overcome challenges. This included the new building footprint spanning the whole site (boundary to boundary) as well as major power lines/junctions being within metres of the building structure.

As part of DLG SHAPE’s commitment to providing commercial opportunities for Indigenous people, a full-time employee was engaged, and four Indigenous students completed work experience placements.