The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute by Woods Bagot. Image: Peter Clarke

7 July 2014 — The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute by Woods Bagot has cleaned up at the South Australian architecture awards, winning the named sustainability award, along with awards for steel, commercial, interior and public architecture. Over in Western Australia, the Fiona Stanley Hospital, a collaboration comprising HASSELL, Hames Sharley and Silver Thomas Hanley, took out top sustainability honours.

The multiple awards for SAHMRI cements its place as an internationally iconic building and will no doubt help in its goal of attracting the world’s best research talent.

“The project operates as a catalyst on multiple levels – a catalyst for the urban regeneration of the precinct; a catalyst and new exemplar for the city; and a catalyst for the state, evidencing step change in attitudes to both design and research,” the jury said.

On winning the Derrick Kendrick Award for Sustainable Architecture, the jury said the building compared favourably with other iconic buildings around the world that “use exemplary architecture as one of the key methods of attracting, and holding, top research people and programmes”.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute by Woods Bagot. Image: Peter Barnes

“As a project goal, best practice sustainable design has clearly been at the forefront of thinking. Subject to ongoing performance monitoring this building has been designed to achieve a LEED Gold Rating,” the citation stated.

“There has been a concerted effort and leadership shown by the architects to ensure that integration of best practice sustainable design has occurred and that the sustainability agenda has not been compromised or diluted. This effort has produced an accomplished and poetic work where environmental and cultural sustainability principles have produced a work that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“That sustainability has been intrinsic to the design process is evidenced by the architects convincing the client to ’re-think’ the typical arrangement of laboratory work-flows. This has allowed the more insular and enclosed laboratory spaces to migrate to the western side of the building where they play a role in mitigating heat loads from the western sun.

“This re-thinking was extended to challenging the norm of isolated individual research teams so that collaboration and interaction throughout the building is encouraged.

“The highly modelled and modulated external skin uses a repeated but modified triangulated module which responds to the passage of the sun throughout the day and over the year. This skin not only undertakes the pragmatic role of solar control, it also creates the iconic façade that contributes so strongly to Adelaide’s skyline.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute by Woods Bagot. Image: Peter Clarke

“The architects have created a building that truly celebrates the work that occurs within, through visual connectivity and through the building itself becoming a joyful landmark for the city’s emerging health and academic precinct.”

The building also won the Keith Neighbour Award for Commercial Architecture, the Robert Dickson Award for Interior Architecture, the Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture and the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture.

Western Australia

In WA, the named sustainability award, the Wallace Greenham Award for Sustainable Architecture, went to the Fiona Stanley Hospital by a design collaboration comprising HASSELL, Hames Sharley and Silver Thomas Hanley.

The Fiona Stanley Hospital by HASSELL, Hames Sharley and Silver Thomas Hanley. Image: Peter Bennetts

“Fiona Stanley Hospital, by far the largest public infrastructure project for the State, has set the benchmark for future public building in Western Australia with its systemic approach to sustainability design,” the jury citation stated.

“It demonstrates a thoroughly integrated approach which it achieves with State Government client support; through collaboration with over 50 allied disciplines; by design through broad stakeholders consultation; a very high standard of social and technical sustainability in the provision of high quality public plazas, parks and natural bushland spaces and energy conservation. Design of the public domain reinforces distinctive characters of the region creating a strong sense of place, belonging and substantial amenity for hospital patients, staff and visitors.

“As natural bushland has been retained, native bird species (including protected Carnaby’s Cockatoos) have been protected. Timber from cleared bushland has been recycled to shape public art and furnish the public spaces. Water is collected integrating existing lake, natural water courses and pond. Hospital complex surrounds are transformed into restful public parkland whilst addressing indigenous cultural preference. Below ground water reservoirs replenish the natural aquifer tapped for irrigation.

“With healing and recuperation in mind, patient rooms overlook roof gardens composed of native species that merge with the surrounding ground landscapes below. This contributes to an enduring natural landscape that binds the healing complex to nature and a place for people, reflecting an ethos of a humanised environment for healthcare.

“It is significant that the project was delivered ahead of time and below budget with the scale and number of sustainability initiatives adopted. It is unprecedented in a public precinct in Western Australia.”

Sustainability initiatives included:

  • fauna protection, flora and seed collection and propagation
  • top soil removal and reuse and preservation and rehabilitation of bushland, precinct wide water sensitive stormwater strategy integrated with expansive roof gardens
  • precinct-wide energy supply via cogeneration – energy capture and reuse to reduce carbon footprint
  • site-wide end of trip facilities and public transport strategy

Meanwhile, the Toyota WA Head Office by Roxby Architects took out the top gong of the night, the George Temple Poole Award.

“The Toyota Head Office in Kewdale is a sophisticated design response to the purpose specific client brief. The architects have responded in an elegant manner to the brief that provides a landmark site within one of WA’s largest industrial areas,” the jury noted.

“The subtle design intent driven by the client’s brand philosophies, in particular the commitment toward sustainability was well integrated into the building, and this was clearly legible across the design.”