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Woods Bagot’s SAHMRI project was the first iteration in our project initiative tracking projects ‘from concept to completion’. It was subsequently featured as ‘Under Construction’ in AR130–Pawn and as a video and finally as a full project review in AR134–Authority.
The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide has been certified as a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold building, a first for a laboratory building in Australia.
The SAHMRI project’s commitment to ecologically sustainable development (ESD) includes first the passive design of the floor plates that respond to the internal programme and provides maximum daylight where needed.
Intensive environmental analysis tested and adjusted the building form to achieve its best solar orientation. Internal floor plate functions are arranged to allow maximum daylight east facing write-up spaces while the enclosed solid lab support spaces located on the west provides protection from the harsh west sun.
Together with the passive design form, the building envelope skin is designed to respond to its environment and internal programme. The skin, made up of a triangulated dia-grid, works both structurally and environmentally. Developed to become a living organism that adapts to its environment by the design of the sun shades responding to their location and orientation to provide the most efficient protection from the sun and heat. The unique facade is designed to improve daylight, reduce heat and glare and maintain vision for a healthy internal environment.
The developed triangulated facade and sunshade design uses parametric modelling tools to integrate environmental, programmatic, and formal requirements to generate a shading system that changes accordingly. This allows it to deal with sunlight, heat load, glare, and wind deflection, while maintaining views and daylight.
The triangulated dia-grid also deals with the organic plan and section of the building form allowing it to maintain its sculptural quality by having one harmonious skin which works aesthetically as well as environmentally.
LEED is a global rating awarded by the US Green Building Council, with each rating system made up of a combination of credit categories. Within each of the credit categories, there are specific prerequisites projects must satisfy and a variety of credits projects can pursue to earn points. The number of points the project earns determines its level of LEED certification.
SAHMRI achieved high scores in the categories of water efficiency (9 out of 10), innovation (5 out of 6), regional priority credits (4 out of 4), indoor environmental quality (8 out of 15) and sustainable sites (23 out of 26).
Drainage is often the forgotten workhorse of the building and design function. Yet drainage maintains a simple albeit vital purpose.