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The New SAHMRI Building

Home > Adelaide > Day Trips | Architecture
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 9th 2013
New state of the art research facility under construction
SAHMRI building North Terrace Adelaide
The new SAHMRI building slowly taking shape on North Terrace. Image by writer.


The SAHMRI building (SA Health and Medical Research Institute) is a new $200 million research facility currently under construction at the western end of North terrace. It is being built alongside the New Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH) which will together form a world class precinct of medical research and clinical application. The purpose built 25,000m2 facility will house state of the art laboratories and equipment and was designed with ideas and input from the research community, health sector and universities.

SAHMRI Adelaide Woods Bagot Architect
The transparent diagonal-grid facade was apparently inspired by the skin of a pine cone, although I'm not sure what relevance pine cones have to this site. Image courtesy Woods Bagot website.


In a recent video survey conducted in March, most people didn't know what the building was for. At first glance I like the bold, futuristic design which is fitting for a building that will be looking toward the future. It seems to have been designed as a 'stand alone', iconic building.

SAHMRI interior Woods Bagot
The clean, crisp, white, space age interior. Image courtesy Woods Bagot website.


Personally I think it's a shame that the State Government chose this location for the NRAH and SAHMRI. I think the alternative proposed site at Keswick would have been a better choice. A great opportunity has been missed to turn this space over to the people and create a link from North Terrace down to the River Torrens.

SAHMRI North terrace Woods Bagot
How the building will look from North Terrace at ground level. Image courtesy Woods Bagot website.

Work began on site in early 2010 and the project is expected to be completed by August 2013.

SAHMRI Adelaide interior Woods Bagot
The gridded fašade will cast interesting shadows on the curved interior forms. Image courtesy Woods Bagot website.
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Why? Because Adelaide needs some funky, modern design
When: Now
Where: North Terrace Adelaide
Cost: Free
Your Comment
You do have to wonder what drugs the designers were on.

I guess LSD would help enhance the "pine cone" imagery, although exactly why we need a $200m pine cone squatting malevolently in our parklands remains a mystery.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11205) 2257 days ago
Keswick might have been fine for those living over that side of the city, but this hospital is for all Adelaidians and needs to be centrally locate, hence a city location....
by trevi (score: 0|2) 2256 days ago
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