Hames Sharley’s new research precinct expected to house more than 1,500 leading medical and scientific researchers
The design of a medical research facility involves the synthesis of a number of complex and often conflicting design issues, and a clear understanding of contemporary approaches to medical research.
The challenge for Hames Sharley on the design of the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research has been to accommodate the changing activities of researchers operating in different fields, whilst encouraging effective interaction and collaboration. The building works from an individual or team level upwards with research spaces connected vertically, horizontally and virtually, and all spaces are designed to support the best scientific endeavour and research outcomes.
Flexibility and collaboration are key drivers for the design. Breaking with orthodox plan forms, large open labs run from north to south in the centre of the building, with offices to the west and core labs to the east. This avoids the disconnection between researchers, and also maximises natural light, external views and helps break down ‘territorial’ barriers.
Typical laboratory floors have been sized for approximately 100 people. Offices are grouped to reduce travel distances and open onto central open plan work areas to support teams of varying size while encouraging contact between researchers.
Interaction spaces are associated with the lift core and open central stair facilitating easy vertical connection for sharing facilities, and encouraging interaction. The large open plan lab in the centre of the floor plate is open to view both internally and externally with full height glazing to the south and extensive sun shading and light shelves to the north.
Designed to engage with the broader community, the ground level and first floor include exhibition and assembly areas, cafe, auditorium and interactive displays. On the ground floor a 20m long animated digital display will aid the communication of research activities and will animate this part of the campus with night and day activity.