LocationAdelaide SA, Australia
Building Services EngineersNorman, Disney & Young
Laboratory SpecialistResearch Facilities Design
Text description provided by the architects. Woods Bagot was engaged by the South Australian Government to design and deliver the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). Nine research modules will house up to 675 researchers, fostering innovation and improvements in community health services.
Cutting edge architecture, including an innovative facade design, provides approximately 25,000 square metres of space in an iconic and sculptural form in the heart of Adelaide’s new medical and health precinct west of the city.
Key to the success of the SAHMRI is its central proposition: a new and liberating laboratory typology that promotes collaboration and medical discovery, attracting the best researchers from around the world.
The co-location of research and hospital services creates synergies between researchers and clinicians, integrates health and medical research into practice and helps attract and retain key researchers and scientists to South Australia.
The built form of the SAHMRI acknowledges its sense of place within the green belt of the Adelaide parklands, seamlessly interacting with its surroundings, including Adelaide’s public transport, cycling and walking networks. The architecture is lifted, creating an open ground plane in an integrated landscape, opening the building to the public as well as users and allowing for greater activation and porosity through the site. Its forecourt, adjacent to the new hospital, encourages interaction and exchange by staff, visitors and the general public.
The SAHMRI’s sculptural, iconic form is characterised by a striking transparent facade that unifies the organic diamond-shaped plan while showcasing the two atria inside the building. Inspired by the skin of a pine cone, the building’s unique triangulated diagrid facade responds to its environment like a living organism. Both functional and aesthetic in nature, the facade is designed to improve access to daylight, reduce heat and glare, and maintain vision for a healthy internal environment.
The interior palette is designed to breathe light and life into the working environment. A restrained selection of materials acknowledges the play of light created by the building skin and allows it to transform the spaces over the course of the day. Injections of colour are introduced though permanent walls and flexible furniture pieces that will be moved over time to suit the users’ needs.
Intensive environmental analysis dictated the building’s form, allowing it to achieve its best solar orientation. Internal floor plate functions are arranged to allow maximum daylight in east facing write-up spaces while the enclosed solid lab support spaces located on the west provides protection from the harsh west sun.
The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute has been certified as a LEED Gold building, a first for a laboratory building in Australia. The project’s commitment to ecologically sustainable development (ESD) includes the passive design of the floor plates that respond to the internal programme and provides maximum daylight where needed.