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Academic Architecture: Lyons Architecture Creates New Transformative School

The new Adelaide University Health and Medical School is a model of academic virtue and stunning contemporary architecture.

  • Photography by John Gollings

  • Photography by John Gollings

  • Photography by John Gollings

  • Photography by John Gollings

  • Photography by John Gollings

The Government’s initiative to construct precincts encouraging research and learning is working. The newly established biomedical precinct on North Terrace is positioning Adelaide as “the destination of choice for health and medical conventions.” Adelaide University Health and Medical School, a new campus addition in the biomedical precinct, designed by Lyons Architecture, symbolises academic virtue and exemplifies contemporary architecture.

The building comprises of approximately 30,000m2 of space dedicated to teaching & learning including medical simulation suites, plus five floors of wet and dry research space; the structure also houses The South Australian Dental Hospital. With the intent to establish collaborative relationships with its neighbours and partake in cross-institutional research, a 13-story building was erected with a 90-metre-wide frontage to North Terrace and a 20-metre cantilever at its east end, hovering high above a new integrated Urban Park and campus ground plane. Primary building materials consist of glass, steel and concrete.

Spearheading the design was Lyons Architecture Director Adrian Stanic, who says the endeavor was one of his most challenging, and rewarding, noting, “One of the project’s biggest challenges was the particular constraints of the site. Interestingly, this actually led us to a design solution that incorporated a very large cantilever, which was a great design opportunity!”

Stanic goes on to add, “The building frame is comprised of concrete columns, beams and floors. Structural steel in the form of a 3-storey truss was integrated with the concrete frame to support complex cantilevers. Steel was also utilised extensively in the design and construction of the feature stairs and the balcony ‘Edgescapes’ at each end of the building.”

He also notes the project was expected to be delivered under a tight time frame in regards to both design and construction standards. “To add to this pressure, during the design phases, we had to keep three design options live, each with a different number of floors. This was to allow the University to concurrently finalise and approve the final budget for the building based on their internal business cases for maximising the floor space to be constructed on the site.”

Additional notable features of the new Adelaide Health and Medical School building entail high-tech simulated hospital wards, research laboratories and leading edge multi-modal teaching spaces.

Despite challenges, the project was proudly delivered on time and under budget.


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