DCM + HDR to deliver $478m biomedical research facility


DCM + HDR to deliver $478m biomedical research facility

Denton Corker Marshall + HDR, in collaboration with Arcadia Landscape Architecture and Aileen Sage, have won the design competition for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator (SBA), a 36,000 m2 health, research and education facility.

The $478 million co-funded partnership project between the NSW Government, Sydney Local Health District and The University of Sydney is set to deliver a first-in-Australia facility equipped with a range of laboratory research facilities and clinical learning spaces. It will build a biomedical precinct to fast-track research and patient care in New South Wales.

The design competition jury said the Denton Corker Marshall + HDR’s scheme “celebrates the relationship between the university and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital campuses”, and for the first time will establish a physical bridge connecting them.

The project design has connectivity at its heart with a focus around a seven-storey circulation spine called the ‘Connector’. The jury noted: “The Connector is a compelling proposition, with the functionality and interconnecting qualities expected to foster collaborative interaction, providing a unique offering.”

Alongside the Connector, laboratory planning lead HDR has designed a range of education and laboratory research facilities, specialist core laboratories and technical support spaces that bring together multidisciplinary teams and integrate fundamental research at the molecular and cellular level with patient-centred research and health outcomes.

Early works for the Accelerator will commence this year and initial occupation is expected to occur from 2026.

Adrian FitzGerald, Senior Director, Denton Corker Marshall, said, “We designed the building as a clear, simple sculptural form with a solid base acknowledging its campus setting; a floating top with compelling imagery alluding to both scientific investigation within and an embedded Indigenous narrative in the sculptural sunscreens.”

Graeme Spencer, National Director of Education + Science, HDR, said by pairing the group’s local and global scientific expertise, it has the opportunity to design and deliver “state-of-the-art, highly adaptable biomedical laboratories where education, health care, engineering and science converge, ultimately enabling SLHD and The University of Sydney to succeed in biomedical research”.

“Laboratories are one of the most programmatically complex and diverse environments to plan, design and engineer, but using advanced design technologies and our data-driven process we have conceived a flexible and efficient design that will cultivate knowledge transfer between biomedical research talent, support robust creativity and collaboration, and enable the acceleration of the biomedical process — from research through to development and commercialisation.”

The Accelerator will tackle some of our most complex health challenges, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and position Sydney as a global leader in biomedical research. Scientists at the facility will conduct research into the building blocks of life, regenerative medicine, drug discovery and medical device development, and harness the latest in nanotechnology and gene and stem cell therapy to transform health outcomes in the state.

Image caption: View of the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator from Western Avenue featuring the seven-storey circulation spine called the Connector. Image credit: Denton Corker Marshall

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Mark Scott AO said the investment is a key component of the university’s new 10-year strategy. 

“It gives our renowned researchers and partners the infrastructure to take a major step forward in the global quest to find solutions to our biggest health challenges. Together, we have the potential to dramatically improve the future of health and medical care in this country,” Scott said.

“Once the Accelerator is completed, the long-term relationship between our university and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital will be further strengthened by the physical sharing and linkage of facilities, accelerating the pathway between findings made at a patient’s bedside to the research bench and back again.”

The Vice-Chancellor said, “This project cements our long-standing partnership with the Sydney Local Health District and we are so thankful for the $143.3 million commitment that the NSW Government announced for this project back in June.”

Over 1200 world-class biomedical researchers and clinician scientists will be located onsite at the Accelerator, including over 800 university laboratory researchers and PhD students and 100 industry researchers.

Importantly, work at the SBA and the university’s facilities at Westmead will be mapped together for shared access and collaboration. Capabilities will be designed to seamlessly complement each other across the two sites such as the viral vectors created at Westmead which will be used for gene and cell therapies development at the SBA.

Top image caption: Architectural concept of the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator from St Andrew’s Oval — a solid base grounds the building and relates to the heritage context, while bold forms float above creating compelling imagery alluding to the scientific investigation within. Image credit: Denton Corker Marshall

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