Recently award R&D Magazine’s prestigious Laboratory of the Year Award, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute is a world-class research facility, attracting the best researchers from around the world. Cutting-edge architecture and interiors provide approximately 323,000 sf of an innovative lab typology that includes wet and dry laboratories, a vivarium, a cyclotron and associated public areas and workspaces.
Working closely with laboratory design specialists, Woods Bagot determined the current and potential needs of scientists working at the facility. Each discipline was challenged to achieve this function and vision of the project. Structurally, the selection of the structural grid was integrated early on to optimize the conflicting requirements of large spans and stringent vibration requirements for laboratory equipment. The modular design of workplaces varies from open plan to enclosed meeting rooms and quiet spaces. A large-column layout allows for efficiency and flexibility and was instrumental to the future-proofing of the space.
The key driver of the building design was to foster collaboration between researchers, achieved by the introduction of atria and bridges. The visual connection between floors and an interconnecting spiral stair encourage and enhance collaboration between users.
The write-up spaces on the adjacent north and north-east side are based on a modular design of workplaces, from open plan to enclosed meeting rooms and quiet spaces. The facade allows maximum daylight into these areas as well as borrowed light to the laboratory spaces and enhances external views, creating a healthier internal environment.
The world-class design for SAHMRI evolved as a direct result of an extensive consultation process with key SAHMRI stakeholders, including the local, national and international research community, health sector and universities. Innovative research environments were coupled with an iconic form to create a brand-defining image that reinforces the aspired culture of the Institute as well as supports recruitment and fund-raising.