SAHMRI II boosts world-class biomedical precinct

Creating a world-class medical precinct demands more than bright minds. It also requires brilliant buildings, which is why South Australia is pulling out all stops for SAHMRI II.

When the first South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute opened in 2013, it was called a spaceship, giant cheese grater and a prickly pine cone.

But it has since become the centerpiece of South Australia’s growing health and biomedical precinct and has sparked a revival of Adelaide’s inner city.

Enter SAHMRI II, which will house Australia’s first proton therapy unit for cancer treatment.

The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will deliver the most technologically-advanced precision radiation therapy in the southern hemisphere and will be at the forefront of research and potential cures for several cancers.

The new building, constructed and owned by Commercial & General, and designed by Woods Bagot, will complement and accentuate the striking geometric façade of the nearby SAHMRI building.

“The original SAHMRI was a catalyst in the resurrection of inner city Adelaide, and the evolution of an internationally-regarded health and biomedical precinct,” says Woods Bagot director Thomas Masullo.

Adelaide’s ‘BioMed City’ is now the largest health cluster in the southern hemisphere. Since SAHMRI opened its doors in 2013, it has been joined by the new Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2017, as well as health science buildings for the universities of Adelaide and South Australia. A new women’s and children’s hospital is also on the cards.

“The design of SAHMRI II echoes the gravitas of this precinct where state-of-the-art technology is part of the city’s ongoing transformation,” Masullo adds.

Woods Bagot says a “purposeful and restrained approach” has informed the design, with “repetition of glass panels, rectangular curtain walling and sun shading system, creating an elegant and sophisticated design aesthetic”.

SAHMRI II will provide flexible, intelligent and high-performance research and work spaces that connect people across teams, disciplines and generations.

A transparent lobby, retail areas and an outdoor plaza will activate North Terrace. Masullo says the building will respond to the needs of staff, clinicians, patients and the community.

SAHMRI was Australia’s first laboratory building to be certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold building. Similar high sustainability standards are being applied to the design of SAHMRI II.

“This is an example of business and the medical sector working together to provide government with the platform to bring about a revolution in the treatment of Australian cancer patients,” says Commercial & General’s CEO Trevor Cooke. 

“What we’ve been able to do with SAHMRI is understand how advances in proton therapy technology are changing both the built form required to house these facilities and the subsequent case for investment. By putting those two critical elements together, we’ve been able to ensure South Australia will be at the absolute forefront of cancer treatment, further underlining the state’s burgeoning reputation as a leader in health.”

All image credits: Woods Bagot.