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Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Lowy Packer Building
by Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke



The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Lowy Packer Building was conceived as a companion to the existing Garvan Institute of Medical Research. It houses both the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI ) and the St Vincents Centre for Applied Research and seeks to redevelop all the shared scientific support facilities into one efficient and flexible facility for the current and the future needs of the Precinct. The (VCCRI) was named after the late Dr Victor Chang, a pioneer in heart transplant surgery who established Australia's first heart transplant program. It comprises a nine storey building with two basement levels, and consists predominantly of state-of-the-art research laboratories and ancillary services and facilities. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, a VCCRI Honorary Life Governor, officially opened the Institute on Wednesday September 3, 2008. Research facilities and public spaces are the two key arenas within the Institute. The former consists of laboratories and offices while the latter includes a series of seminar and meeting rooms, interaction areas, physical links to the Garvan building and a feature staircase. These separate but associated activities are expressed or 'acted out' in the building form. The northern fašade is articulated by meeting rooms and the feature staircase which activate the fašade and introduces the building to the street and public. A further unpeeling of the building's layers reveals administration, laboratories and write-up areas. The form of the building is generated by both its

functionality and a response to its immediate urban environment, sited between existing heritage buildings the lower levels respond to a pedestrian scale with the use of terracotta tiles, landscaping and entry courtyard and canopy to respond to the human scale of the immediate environment. The upper levels of the building reflect a scientific industrial edge with the use of alucobond paneling and large openings with clear glass infills are articulated and layered by external sunshading which respond directly to the environmental and scientific needs of the building. Once again the penetration of natural light is evident, expressed in an east-west axis. Full height glass partitions and entry points allow vistas through multiple zones. These spaces have neutral tones with splashes of colour high-lighting key components such as hand wash bays, workstations, seating fabrics and glass graphics. Versatility and functionality are perfectly combined in the design of the boardroom, seminar spaces and breakout areas. Cleverly integrated operable walls allow these spaces to operate independently or to fully open up to one large space. Feature ceilings combined with a multi-faceted lighting system allow a smooth transition from work mode to function mode. The project not only satisfies the function requirements of the precinct partners, but also reflects the aspirations, principles and values of each institute in a new shared precinct. It positions work of biomedical research in world class facility within a high profile urban setting in the hub of Darlinghurst.

Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke
Project Team
Project architect: Julian Ashton
Electrical consultant: Steenson Varming
Mechanical consultant: Steenson Varming
Hydraulic consultant: Waterman
Structural Engineer: SCP Consulting
Head Contractor: A W Edwards
Photographer: Anthony Fretwell
Photographer: Richard Drew
Photographer: Anthony Fretwell
Photographer: Anthony Fretwell

Photographs by Anthony Fretwell, Richard Drew, Anthony Fretwell & Anthony Fretwell, text by Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects