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The New Royal Adelaide Hospital Building

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by James Newcombe (subscribe)
Freelance writer for feature articles, web content and blogs. Specializing in non-fiction articles on a range of subjects including lifestyle, travel, architecture and product reviews.
Published April 8th 2013
Adelaide thrust into the 21st century
North terrace Adelaide NRAH Design Inc
An artist's impression of the aerial view from North terrace corner; fortunately the NRAH building is well set back and screened from North terrace by trees. Image courtesy Design Inc website.


The New $1.7 Billion Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH) has begun construction at the western end of North terrace/ Port rd. The design incorporates the requirements of experienced medical professionals together with innovations from hospitals around the world.

East Plaza
External artist's impression of the East Plaza with the SAHMRI building in the foreground. A striking, bold design befitting a modern hospital facility. Image courtesy Design Inc website.


Opening in 2016, the 800 bed facility (only 120 more beds than the old RAH) will include a retail precinct, gym and crèche. Parking for 2300 cars will be accommodated on site, with the majority underground. The building will have an emphasis on green spaces, amenities and internal gardens. Space has been allocated on the western side of the site for future expansion.

NRAH Adelaide Design Inc
Artist's impression of the main entrance to the new hospital. Image courtesy Design Inc website.


It's a pity this site was chosen by the Rann Government as it effectively cuts off the river from North terrace, ruining a great opportunity for the river to be connected to the city. The location and cost became a Political "hot potato" in the lead-up to the State election in 2010, with the Liberal opposition tabling three other redevelopment options that were supposedly cheaper than building a new hospital on this site from scratch.

NRAH Port rd adelaide
The current construction site from Port rd. The adjacent SAHMRI building (SA Health and Medical Research Institute) is in the background.


The new hospital has been designed with flexible spaces that are adaptable as medical technology and patient needs change. Robots will collect drugs and other medical goods from central stores, package and deliver them to nursing stations while also delivering meals to patients' rooms. This will save a lot of money for non-essential nursing staff.

NRAH Adelaide Inpatient bedroom SA Health
Artist's impression of the single Inpatient bedrooms which will have private ensuites, natural light, fresh air and views of green spaces. A roll-out couch in each room will allow relatives to sleep over. I am not sure if the nurse is a robot. Image courtesy SA Health website.


Unfortunately taxpayers will have to foot the (average) $397 million bill annually for 30 years, beginning in 2016, to pay off the hospital.

NRAH Adelaide hospital river Torrens
Unfortunately, the new design will have a major visual impact from the river Torrens side, with a large scale, repetitive design. Image courtesy Design Inc website
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Why? For all our future health
When: Under construction now
Where: 1 North terrace Adelaide
Cost: free
Your Comment
Well done James, an imaginative choice of topic delivered with balance.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11033) 2045 days ago
The new hospital complex does not block off access to the river as you state. Currently there's no access at all due to the rail yards. When the project's finished it will actually open up access to a redeveloped riverbank area.
by twelv (score: 0|4) 1805 days ago
Thanks Dave, much appreciated.
by James Newcombe (score: 2|359) 2045 days ago
Includes a retail precinct! 2300 car-parks! I thought this was originally parklands? Thanks guys - interesting to see what the architecture might look like.
by marcu (score: 0|2) 2035 days ago
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