Glass and light give transparency on new University of Adelaide health sciences building

By / 3rd of March, 2017
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AN open plan layout and the latest hi-tech medical training feature in South Australia’s newest next-generation university campus.

The University of Adelaide’s new Health and Medical Sciences (HMS) building is a 14-storey vertical campus in the heart of the city’s emerging biomedical precinct.

 The 65-metre tall, $246 million structure opened late last month and was designed by Lyons Architecture.

Situated along the north of the Adelaide CBD, it is a short walk from the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

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It was constructed by Lendlease Corporation and contains 150 classrooms including state-of-the-art medical simulation facilities, lecture halls and the new 89-chair Adelaide Dental Hospital on its top three floors, which opens in July.

Lyons’ Design Leader Adrian Stanic said the HMS building was designed to be highly flexible to cater to advanced medical simulation suites, virtual wards and operating theatre environments, which have been configured to bring together theory, tutoring and hands-on practice.

“It is a satellite campus for the university and much of the design was in creating a horizontal campus feel at that end of the city,” he said.

“What sets it apart on North Terrace is certainly the edge scapes, which form a series of balconies that were constructed with steel and glass to create a very lightweight edge to the building and create a sense of porosity even in the upper levels.

“And the use of glass for the main body of the building creates a very efficient curtain wall façade that maximises light and minimises glare, connecting North Terrace with the River Torrens, through to the train tracks and you can see Adelaide Oval as well.”

About 3000 glass panels were installed along the building’s exterior to increase the natural lighting into the building and to create a transparent and open structure.

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It was also designed using various energy efficient techniques including 5850 glass sunshade units, water sustainability infrastructure, optimisation of fresh air ventilation, fully integrated waste-management streams and the use of low emission materials.

The new 30,000sq m health campus can hold up to 1600 students and more than 400 researchers.

Four floors of the building will house modern research laboratory for the University’s researchers in a shared operating environment specifically designed to foster stronger collaboration.

Construction began in August 2014 and took about 800 days and more than 450 workers to complete.

Executive Dean of the University’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Alastair Burt said the building brought together its Medical School, Nursing School, Dental School and the School of Public Health for the first time.

“We now have the most hi-tech healthcare teaching facility in Australasia, including simulation suites that replicate the technology available in modern critical care hospitals, such as the new Royal Adelaide Hospital,” he said.

“The research will tackle major health challenges of the 21st century, including early determinants of disease, the burden of chronic disease in an ageing population, the growing problems of obesity and the search for increasingly effective treatments for common cancers.

“There will be a strong emphasis on translation of our research findings for patient benefit.”

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The new HMS building is the largest capital works project in the university's 140-year history.

Work is also underway on the University of South Australia’s $230m Health Innovation Building next to the new University of Adelaide project.

Designed by BVN Architects and Swanbury Penglase, the 15-storey health and research facility will support a collaborative and holistic approach to health research and is scheduled to open in 2018.

Key contacts

Adrian Stanic Director Lyons Architecture
61 3 9600 2818 adrian.stanic@lyonsarch.com.au