QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Central Bldg

Leading edge design for advanced medical research centre

Opus provided civil, structural and hydraulic engineering services for this $140m medical research centre.

The project at Herston included the design and construction of a 15-level facility for advanced medical research and clinical trials into cancer, infectious disease, genetic and indigenous health.

The building comprises five levels of office and administration and six levels of cutting edge labs, and houses the Australian Biosecurity Response Facility.

On such a constrained site construction had to be carefully managed to minimise disruption to surrounding buildings and existing facilities. As such, a bulk earthwork plan was developed instead of large rock excavation, to reduce vibrations in surrounding buildings.

A link bridge connects the new building to two existing QIMR buildings. But one of the older buildings didn’t have structural provisions for the addition of the bridge. To further complicate things, the wall of this building formed part of its vertical load carrying system, creating challenges when inserting the bridges. A large open atrium was also needed at the base of the building. Careful consideration and design was required to allow for various sized holes in the side wall of the older Bancroft Building. The bridges now enable the free movement of staff and visitors between three adjacent QIMR buildings.

The new building provides a central point for the institute and, by linking three buildings, creates a single integrated centre for medical research. This encourages cross fertilisation of ideas between researchers.