The first established medical research institute in Australia, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), uncovered their new $185 million research facility last month with the help of a nine-by-nine metre kabuki reveal on the outside of the Parkville building, designed and built by Staging Rentals & Construction Services.
The facility has been developed to accommodate the institute’s rapidly expanding research programs in cancer, infectious diseases and chronic inflammatory disease.
The reveal was launched by the Premier of Victoria, Mr Ted Baillieu; the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Ms Catherine King; Walter and Eliza Hall Institute staff; and several cancer survivors who were able to beat their disease from a discovery made by the institute 25 years ago.
Damien Collins, state manager, Staging Rentals & Construction Services, said the design of the kabuki reveal – which is the mechanism that drops a drape from a flying bar with a dramatic effect, through the use of powerful electromagnets – needed to include an element that reflected the community value of the organisation.
“We designed the ‘reveal’ element of the kabuki to enable staff, ex-patients, contributors, management, the Premier and all who were involved in the development to all be part of the reveal.
“We had a 20 metre long rope attached to the kabuki, so that when they pulled it tug-of-war style, the kabuki fell to reveal the building facade.”
Marc Golding, project manager, Staging Rentals & Construction Services oversaw the production of all the elements for the reveal.
“The kabuki had guidelines on each of the sides, to deliver a smooth and effortless fall; the reveal drape fell into an enclosed area which was made to be part of the set. This was to help cater to the busy surrounding area.
“The full production was exciting to work on. It also shows the exceptional capability of our Victorian team,” said Mr Golding.
The kabuki was featured on prime time news.
The institute’s floor space has more than doubled since the upgrade in 2008 and has an additional 270 researchers now on-board. A further 200 staff and students are currently being recruited. The redevelopment was funded through major contributions from the Victorian and Australian governments, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and a number of philanthropic organisations and individuals.