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Home > Adelaide > Architecture | Charity | Frugal Friday | Tours | Unusual Things to do
by Kat May (subscribe)
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Published April 10th 2017
How to view one of our newest buildings
The SAHMRI building at the west end of North Terrace in Adelaide has certainly been the subject of discussion since it was built. With its unusual outer framework of steel and glass windows, it looks like a giant cheesegrater and that is the term the locals have given it. The fascinating modern building looks like a giant metal ark from the outside.

This building in fact is the home to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. The building has many eco features and harvests their own rainwater for bathroom use. The outside shell of window hoods, made of steel and aluminium, are designed to keep the harsh sun off the building interior. The building also circulates some fresh air from outside to cool the building.

SAHMRI tour Adelaide
The building design is intriguing. Image by the writer.

I assumed this was a government building, but not until I took the tour did I learn about the role of this private institution and the important work they are doing here. They do not receive ongoing government funding and rely on grants and bequests to operate. They have seven different areas of health they research including Aboriginal health, mind and brain health, heart, and cancer. Each department has their own area and applies for research grants for their specific field of work.

At the start of the tour, you gather in the foyer and learn about the role this organisation has. Unfortunately the tour does not take us into the high security lab and work areas. Inside the place has all glass walls and you can look inside to the work areas. On the tour you will hear about the work they do and how their research is helping our community and the world. All funds from the tour cost goes towards the research programs.

SAHMRI tour Adelaide
The tour group listens to the intoduction in the foyer. Image by the writer.

 SAHMRI tour, Adelaide.
A good view along North Terrace looking west. Image by the writer.

 SAHMRI tour, Adelaide.
The unique spiral interior staircase. Image by the writer.

I think it is the building people really come to see for it certainly is unique. The spiral staircase is a highlight of the tour for many. Unfortunately when I went on the tour one of the participants had an injured leg, so we all had to go down the lift. Security is high and you cannot walk around where you wish and everyone must stay in the group. Otherwise we could have walked down the staircase with some fabulous photo opportunities and views over the railway station.

SAHMRI, Adelaide, tours
The SAHMRI building is a great for photos and the tour leader allows time for this. Image by the writer.

You can walk along North Terrace towards the west to SAHMRI or get the free tram and alight at West End stop. The building is next to the new hospital complex and medical studies buildings. The tour takes one hour and all tickets must be booked online. Photo ID must be shown to start the tour. You may leave your bags and coats at the cloakroom. At the end of the tour you are asked to consider making a donation to one of the areas of research here. A tour of SAHMRI is very interesting and one that you will learn something about our city and the medical world.
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Why? To view one of our new modern buildings
When: Tours held on Fridays only- see website for times and tickets.
Where: North Terrace (west end) near the new hospital.
Cost: $10 per person
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