"When you give our best minds the best facilities, you can expect they will deliver the best research outcomes"
David Lloyd, Vice Chancellor, University of South Australia

University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute

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BVN in association with Swanbury Penglase Architects
University of South Australia (UniSA)
University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
April 2014 - December 2017
Full Architectural Services

29,800m² GFA


An epicentre for cancer and aligned research.

The UniSA Cancer Research Institute houses the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB), the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, a major science public outreach initiative Science Creativity Education Studio (SciCEd), the Innovation and Collaboration Centre, and a new and unique future-focussed public museum, MOD.
The new building consists of 12 levels plus a mezzanine, lower ground, basement and rooftop plant. The floors are linked by three interconnecting atriums which move between the building’s north and south side. The first atrium is on the northern side and connects the ground level entry of the building off North Terrace with SciCEd studio floors and the Health Clinics Floors. The second is on the south side and connects the 3 levels of the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. The third atrium is also on the northern side and connects the CCB Floors.

The main entrance to the building is located off the new Urban Park, a vital green space on the precinct, which energises the area, supporting an integrated precinct of academic, researcher, clinician, student and the public. The Urban Park will connect this building with University of Adelaide’s School of Nursing – two important health teaching facilities within the Biomedical Precinct.
The building is designed to utilise the strength of its external structural frame in both the form, articulation and sun shading, creating a single form that responds to its very prominent site between the River Torrens and the City of Adelaide.



Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) National Award for Interior Architecture
Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) National Commendation for Sustainable Architecture
Australian Institute of Building (AIB) Professional Excellence Awards 50m+
Master Builders Association Excellence in Work, Health and Safety
Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) SA Chapter The Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture
Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) SA Chapter Interior Architecture Award
Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) SA Chapter Sustainable Architecture Award
European Healthcare Design Awards - Health and Life Sciences Design

Brief Elements

  • Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB)
  • Science Creativity Education Studio (SciCEd)
  • UniSA School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
  • Museum of Discovery (MOD.)


  • Pursuing LEED Gold Star rating
  • The first two floors of the building are dedicated free public gallery spaces
  • It is the tallest structure in South Australia with a structural timber façade of Australian hardwood
  • Opportunities for innovation and collaboration


Hansen Yunken
Managing Contractor
South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service
Fire Brigade
Jeff Freeman
Disability Consultancy Services
Land Surveyor
Jeff Freeman and Associates
Lab+Animal House Specialist
Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) with ARUP
Services Engineers
Swanbury Penglase
Landscape Architects
Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec (WGA)
Structural/Civil Engineers
ARUP Facades
Façade Engineer
Sustainability Consultant
Freeman Ryan Design
Gallery Specialist
Rider Levett Bucknall
Cost Management
Waste Management Specialist
Statutory Planner
Vipac Engineers & Scientists Ltd
Wind Consultants