Centennial Park Cafe and Function Centre | Adelaide

Pasadena, SA

Centennial Park Cemetery Authority - Cities of Unley and Mitcham

Chappell Builders

Interior Designer
Studio S2 Architects

March 2021

Trim Photography


Centennial Park Cemetery is the pre-eminent end-of-life resting place and a place for connections to be made and lives to be celebrated and remembered. The brief was for a commercially focussed, key income producing development that attracts visitors, extends the uses and flexibility of the park, and grows long lasting connections with all generations. The cafe and function centre is to be a place to be proud of – that contributes to the Centennial Park reputation, asserts Centennial Park as a destination and enhances the profile of the park. The development also aims to be a place that drives increased visitation from existing families, attracts new visitors and builds relationships directly with families.

“In keeping with our aim to build meaningful connections with our community we embarked on a project to create a café, gift shop, and function rooms in the cemetery grounds (the first development of its kind in South Australia).

The choice of architect was critical; we needed a specialist architect, one that could create a true visitor experience – not just a building.” – Janet Miller, CEO


A building in a Cemetery that is about celebrating life.

The design takes advantage of the natural rise in the land between the chapels and the new building, and aims to capture a rise in spirit as well. The rising steps and walkway draw you up from the sorrow of the service, into a shared space that is highly textured yet a single path – symbolising the complexity of life, but also the single journey we are all on, but also creating intuitive way-finding. The artwork, which doubles as a playground for children at the end of the path brings a moment of delight.

A cafe that is outward looking, and function rooms that are both internal and connected to the gardens.

The connection to place is so important to this building, that the interior of the cafe calls for a cool, natural light and lots of windows that always connect back to the outside. The function rooms are darker and more intimate, yet the full wall of glass and decks that sit right into the tree line allow a gradual transition from internal to external in a protected space. In contrast, the retail component of the building is dark and warm, creating a fully inward facing space, perfect for sale of merchandise.

An environment that can attract people from all walks of life, and adapt to personal needs.

Very specifically designed to appeal, rather than just not offend, the building materials were chosen to compliment the sandstone of the heritage listed chapel building, but were drawn into a smaller, more human scale, with cool colours used internally to give the impression of vastness, stillness and depth. Ramps are used extensively, with simple wayfinding and strong entrance statements to ensure people of all abilities are able to navigate the building.

The spaces, while not highly decorated, have a level of texture and detail that has no cultural affiliation but can be used as a background for addition of cultural artefacts.

Personal space

The building was specifiically designed to avoid the public walking thorough eachother’s functions, and to separate the kitchen noise and activity from the quietness of the function rooms. By creating the internal terrace, we were able to create direct connections between the kitchen and function rooms, a breakout area for large functions, and entrances to the function spaces that are private and individual. This also optimises hallways and creates maximum income producing spaces.


Our goal was to create a place where the healing begins, where life and goodness is celebrated, stories are told and connections evolve, people’s emotions are lifted and lightened. Intimate but outward looking, structured but connected to nature.

“Studio S2’s innovative design is a stunningly beautiful building but more importantly, they have captured the true essence of Centennial Park and created spaces that radiate light & warmth, that evoke emotion, and that are uniquely us.

Amy and Dan were personally involved at every step of the way.  We felt they had an authentic connection to the project and became an extension of the Centennial Park team.

The resulting development has exceeded our expectations. I can’t recommend Studio S2 highly enough.” – Janet Miller, CEO


Advertiser 22 May 2020

Cemeteries Organisation March 2019





For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.