South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is a world class research facility, accommodating up to 675 researchers from South Australia, Australia and beyond. Cutting edge architecture by Woods Bagot, 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.
“The sculptural qualities of SAHMRI’s form aim to inspire and promote the building’s function. The transparent facade showcases two internal atriums, while the building’s form is further expressed by its unique triangulated dia-grid facade inspired by the skin of a pine cone.
The form’s articulated skin adapts and responds to its environment, becoming a living organism that responds to the position of the sun. The SAHMRI design and construction team worked collaboratively to deliver a flexible, adaptable, healthy and sustainable facility, achieving a LEED GOLD rating.” – Woods Bagot
Inspired by the skin of a pine cone, the building’s unique triangulated dia-grid facade responds to its environment like a living organism, acting as an articulated sunshade that deals with sunlight, heat load, glare, and wind deflection, while maintaining views and daylight. Following an intensive environmental analysis with consultants Atelier 10, Woods Bagot used parametric modelling tools to integrate environmental, programmatic, and formal requirements into the facade.
SAHMRI’s purpose is to translate research into improved health outcomes for the community now, and for generations to come while being a generator of wellbeing and social purpose within a city with an aging population. As the advancements of research and maker culture is returning to urban centres, the cultural presence of research buildings like SAHMRI creates lasting connections with the surrounding community, to the point where research, knowledge, and innovations in health are celebrated within a healthy built environment. These themes were not only selected based on the most important health issues we currently face, but also their intersection with each other, and the research collaborations they will create.
Woods Bagot worked with the South Australian Government to establish the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). The institute’s nine research modules house up to 675 researchers looking at ways to foster innovation and improvements in health services, leading to improved health outcomes for the whole community.
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 building is oriented to engage this green belt and riverfront, as well as downtown Adelaide. The architecture is lifted, creating an open ground plane in an integrated landscape, opening the building to the public as well as users, allowing for greater activation and porosity through the site.
Derived from its unique site geometry and need to create a forecourt entry adjacent the new hospital to the west, the diamond-shape plan grows from the ground plane to become a “follie” in the park. Visible through the transparent facade, the west atrium expresses the entry and bridge links between the laboratories, while the east atrium expresses the active workplace environment inside. Together with the expression of the associated laboratory flues outside the west facade, the function of the building is clearly identified and aims to promote the importance of the research within.
The building form is further expressed by its unique triangulated dia-grid facade inspired by the skin of a pine cone. The triangulated structure and articulated sunshade allow for a singular skin to the building to create a sculptured object.
INNOVATION IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN:
As part of an innovative sustainability program, the project is the first laboratory building in Australia to achieve a LEED Gold rating. The design team worked collaboratively to conduct extensive tests, adjusting the building form to achieve its best solar orientation through the passive design of floor plates that respond to the internal program and provide maximum daylight where needed.
The original “sketch” geometry was developed using a collection of flat and blended NURBS surfaces in Rhino 3D. This enabled a sculptural feel to the form development process but also presented the team with challenges in its realization into a cost-effective and fabricatable form. At the same time, early development of production drawings had begun, and thus the suggestion to continue geometric development within Revit 2010 was actioned. The limitations of Revit’s geometry manipulation actually served as a beneficial aspect of the geometric rationalization process – these limitations became fabrication “controls,” resulting in the form migrating into a cleaner, arc-based collection of shapes.
FABRICATION AND ASSEMBLY:
Facade development was led by Australian-based design-build facade specialist 4DFS. Bringing in the original surface geometry from Rhino to Autodesk Inventor, minor tolerance issues were highlighted at the intersections of the mesh panels. This was resolved using nearest-neighbor algorithms/vertex averaging. A parametric model was developed to explore structural framing and glass connection details, with significant complexity required to address a required gap between panel edges, considerate of site tolerance, across both convex and concave conditions. The surface was then subdivided into a collection of larger panels to be fabricated off-site.
Project name: South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
Location: North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
Coordinates: -34.921205, 138.589658
Type: Health Care, Reseach / laboratories Center
Project Area: 25,000 sqm
Completion Date/Year: 2014
Cost: $200 million
Visit SAHMRI’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure (DPTI)
Architects: Woods Bagot – 11-31 York St Level 10, Sydney, Australia 2000
- Laboratory architect: Research Facilities Design
- Structure/ civil/ facade/ traffic/ geotechnical/ wind/ specialist vibration/ electrical/ vertical transportation/ fire protection: Aurecon
- Building services lead/ mechanical/ hydraulic/ acoustics/ fire engineering/ specialist lighting), Cundall (ESD/ LEED services: Norman Disney Young
- Dangerous goods: CETEC
- Wayfinding and signage: ID/Lab
- Landscape: Oxigen
- Surveying consultancy: BuildSurv
- Radiation shielding design consultant: Radiation Services Consulting
- Disability: Disability Consultancy Services
- Cost consultant: Rider Levett Bucknall
- Managing contractor: Hindmarsh
- Leadership Team: Thomas Masullo, Peter Miglis, Anoop Menon, Gavin Kain, Enzo Caroscio