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Finding Solutions to Good Health

A Woods Bagot-designed health and research institute is set to transform Adelaide’s urban landscape, writes Anthony Caggiano.

Finding Solutions to Good Health


August 26th, 2011

Adelaide’s abandoned railyards are transforming into a health hub as the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) starts to take shape.

The $200 million Woods Bagot-designed building consists of 2 35-metre-high atriums creating a window for about 675 medical researchers. It is being constructed alongside the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Project design leader Enzo Caroscio told Indesignlive the site is to be “a landmark building for the institute”.


At the core of the design is the triangular “diagrid”. Made of steel, glass and aluminium, Caroscio said it creates a skin to an organic object. Inspired by natural organic geometries, it provides highly efficient shading to the building’s orientation.

A triangulated shade on the eastern side allows natural light in, while the western façade is predominantly solid to reduce the amount of afternoon sun. High-performance glass further assists in passively regulating the building’s temperature.

The plaza and ground floor will be open to the public and its proposed soft landscaping consists of medicinal plants relating to the research within the building.

“We were trying to promote medical research, that’s why it’s so open,” Caroscio said.

A total of 9 laboratory modules will provide areas for research, including animal handling and chemicals.


The building is currently shortlisted to win a World Architecture Festival Award in the Future Projects, Health category. Other accolades include being a finalist in the Design & Health International Academy Awards, Future Health Project category and a commendation in the MIPIM Future Project Awards 2011.

The building is expected to be opened by the middle of 2013.

Woods Bagot

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