The School of Art, Architecture and Design merges the South Australian School of Art and the Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design.
Well-known past and present alumni who began their careers at the School include Margaret Preston, Hans Heysen, Stella Bowen, Ivor Hele, Jeffrey Smart, Barbara Hanrahan, Mandy Martin, Aleks Danko, Hossein Valamanesh, Zhong Chen, Gavin Walkley, Paul Hecker, Nik Karalis, Caroline Lieu, Melinda Kate Hill and Debra Little.
The work, history, and development of the School is promoted by the Friends of the South Australian School of Art using the outstanding expertise, experience and collegial nature of past and present scholars and staff.
The South Australian School of Art is one of the oldest art schools in Australia. In 1856 the School was inaugurated as part of the South Australian Society of Arts, an organisation that included, in embryonic form, most of the major cultural institutions now situated along Adelaide's North Terrace: the State Library of South Australia, South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the Adelaide School of Arts.
The School has a rich and innovative history. In 1892, it was the first in Australia to appoint a woman teacher of painting, Elizabeth Armstrong. She remained in that position until 1928. Under the leadership of Harry Pelling Gill and then Lawrence H Howie, Armstrong became one of many women staff. By the 1920s, and in contrast to the trend elsewhere in Australia, the majority of staff were women, including Jessamine Buxton, Ethel Barringer and Marie Tuck. In the 1930s and 1940s, other women teachers, including Mary P Harris, Dorrit Black and Jackie Hick, were instrumental in introducing students to modernism.
The Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design has a long tradition of professional education in the building industry. The first architectural course was established at the South Australian School of Mines by Louis Laybourne Smith in 1906.
In 1991, the South Australian Institute of Technology and the South Australian College of Advanced Education merged to form the University of South Australia. At the beginning of 1997, the School moved into the newly completed City West campus. Today, the School has over 20 full-time academic staff and 650 undergraduate students in the three disciplines of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Industrial Design.