South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide, Australia

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) at North Terrace in Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, was officially opened in November 2013. The world-class research facility for health and medical research in South Australia was sponsored by the Australian Federal Government and the South Australia State Government.

The facility won the 2015 Laboratory of the Year award in the R&D Magazine Laboratory of the Year competition.

Research at the SAHMRI and lab details

"The facility was sponsored by the South Australia state government and the federal Australian Government."

The new SAHMRI facility has a total floor space of 25,000m² in a nine-storey building that is integrated with Royal Adelaide Hospital. The new facility is used for fostering innovation and improvements in health services and is a place for carrying out research on themes such as cancer, heart diseases nutrition, metabolism and healthy mothers.

It also enables research on other themes, including the mind and brain, immunity, infection and babies and children. It has a sophisticated laboratory space to accommodate 675 researchers.

The South Australian research facility is provided with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. It is incorporated with the Physical Containment (PC) level two laboratory standards set by the Australian Government. It has both wet and dry laboratory spaces.

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute design

The SAHMRI facility was designed by Woods Bagot. The building design is inspired by the skin of a pine cone. It features a transparent glass facade made up of triangular structures with glass and diagonal steel beam supports. The façade is designed to allow more natural light into the building.

The building also features two atriums inside. The west side atrium includes the entry and bridge links between the laboratories while the east side atrium utilises an active workplace environment. The design also features glass lifts, wide open spaces, flexible working areas, lofty bridges and a spiral staircase.

SAHMRI construction and contractors

Construction on the SAHMRI facility was started in February 2010. The concrete works were completed and the tree-topping ceremony held in August 2012.

"The South Australian research facility is provided with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment."

The design and architecture support for the building was provided by an Integrated Design Team led by Woods Bagot, which received collaboration from RFD for lab design, Aurecon for structure design and NDY & Aurecon for services design.

The construction contract for the SAHMRI facility was awarded to Hindmarsh Construction. Aconex provided operations and maintenance support during the construction.

China-based company Shenyang Yuanda Aluminium Industry Engineering was awarded with a contract to install the diagrid facade to the research facility in March 2013. The company subcontracted the facade installation work to Samaras Structural Engineers. The facade installation was completed in 2013.

Norman Disney & Young provided advanced building information modelling to the facility.

Financing Adelaide's SAHMRI project

The Australian Federal Government contributed $200m for the construction of the research facility in April 2009. The state government contributed $15m for the research facility.


The facility is constructed with ecologically sustainable development (ESD) features and designed to provide maximum natural daylight through atriums and glass facade. It became Australia's first LEED Gold-certified laboratory building.

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