The Lowy Cancer Research Centre is a joint venture between the University of NSW Faculty of Medicine (FoM) and Children’s Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA), bringing together childhood and adult cancer research on the one site.
The design for the building was completed in November 2009 and evolved out of the successful design competition scheme by lahznimmo architects and Wilson Architects. The completed facility is 17,000sqm with a construction cost of $100mil and accommodates more than 400 researchers and support staff over eight levels. The facilities included in the building include: PC2 microbiological research laboratories; shared support laboratories including imaging and cancer genetics; animal research; administrative services and shared common interaction areas.
The building is located in a very prominent location at the northeast corner of the Kensington campus with proximity to the Prince of Wales Hospital precinct and at the edge of what has become the UNSW medical precinct. It is also a building which utilises available technology to reduce its footprint, including bore water aquifer recharge and cogeneration and will be one of the first facilities to be assessed for a 5 star greenstar rating using the Green Building Council of Australia’s education tool.
Underpinning the project is the primary objective of providing a "flexible and evolving research facility" which will be able to adapt to the inevitability of constantly evolving and variable research programming. The building by virtue of its function divides naturally into a more formal but flexible “Laboratory Box” containing labs, support space areas and floor by floor plant and then a more fluid “human strand” containing write up spaces and a variety of areas for break out and collaborative work. The building adopts the strategy of expressing “science to the street” and “people to the courtyard”. This dynamic is evident from the outside in the expression of precast concrete panels to High Street and a mix of glazing and green cladding to Michael Birt Garden to the south.
The main focal and social space in the building is an atrium space, which uses the metaphor of the “science knowledge bank”; recognition of the idea that the strength of organisations like CCIA and FoM lies in the collective tacit knowledge of their people and the exchange of ideas between them. This space visually and spatially connects all six above-ground levels as well as providing an opportunity to view into and from the research activity in the laboratories. The atrium is a central part of the “human strand” of activity within the building and connects on four levels via an occupied bridge link to the existing Medical Sciences Building. This linking element physically connects the lift cores of the two buildings maximizing the potential for collaboration between the Faculty of Medicine and the Lowy Cancer Research Centre.
The occupied bridge link to the Wallace Wurth Building in addition to creating a physical and collaborative linking of the two facilities also from an urban design perspective creates an Upper Campus Pedestrian Gateway for the University from the broader Randwick area in a similar way that the University Mall creates a lower campus pedestrian gateway on Anzac Parade.