Human history moves comfortably into its new, smaller home

The School of Medical Science Pathology Department at the University of NSW in Sydney has relocated its History of Human Diseases Museum to smaller premises without sacrificing free floor space.


media release: Uni of NSW: Sept 2005

In an environment where large groups of students are expected to congregate, a key issue that needed to be overcome was the potential for clutter.

This prompted Mr Weng Wong of Budden Nangle Michael & Hudson Architects to configure a clever, modular re-fit that not only maximised available space and light, it also provides flexibility for another relocation planned further down the track.

“Our brief was for flexibility so that all the display cabinets can be re-used if the museum moved again,” said Mr Wong.

“This new location at the Samuels Building posed two major challenges. First of all, it is smaller than its predecessor and has a lower ceiling height, yet we needed to rehouse all the existing specimens, thus a greater level of efficiency was required from whatever shelving product we selected.

“Secondly, we needed to utilise as much light as possible in an environment deliberately devoid of windows.

“Speedframe was identified as the ideal solution as it allowed us to use glass extensively as shelving and screens. So this ensured the displays become the walls and boundaries, and its transparency makes the space which would otherwise be very oppressive for a Museum.

“An added advantage is that the shelves can move around on rollers, so the level of flexibility is further enhanced.”

The Museum of Human Disease (also known as the Hall of Health) is part of the Department of Pathology at the School of Medical Sciences within The University of New South Wales.

Approximately 1,500 linear metres of the ‘Speedframe’ product were used as framing for shelving that reached as high as three tiers.
The product was chosen with the view that the Museum could be relocated or expanded after five years while retaining, reusing or relocating the existing fit out without it looking outdated.

All perimeter displays are fixed against walls (about 50 % of total) while the remainder are mobile.
“This aspect of the project is important as it allows flexibility to organise the space around different display modes,” said Mr Wong.
“The standardised component allows minimal offsite manufacturing and assembly time. This assisted the builder in meeting the tight construction programme.
“Its ‘knock down’ assembly allows modification, addition and relocation with minimum waste and labour while affording design flexibility.”
Speedframe is a tubular aluminium framing possessing a high level of strength and the appearance of stainless steel

Due to Speedframe’s patented design, on-site assembly can be done quickly and easily. Speedframe’s aluminium die-cast connectors (square or rounded) not only make for a strong connection, they also allow for different powder coating options.

Manufactured and supplied by Morfurniture, it can be configured from the simplest of sketches or drawings and supplied in tubing cut to any size, height or length, therefore not limiting the designer to any standard dimensions.

Pre-finished tubes and accessories have end-caps to ensure a neat finish, while only simple tools are used to assemble the system. Should they be required, castors can be installed for movement or screw-in feet can be fitted to level or lift items from the floor.

Strong and sturdy, it can be assembled to stack very high without posing dangers of falling as it can never become top-heavy. As it can stand high off the floor, work for cleaning staff is simplified and normally done better.

  • For more information, please contact Mr Kevin Fowler, Morfurniture.
    Holmwood Business Park, 62 Enterprise Drive, Beresfield, NSW 2322.
    Tel: 02 4966 4044, fax: 02 4966 4222.
  • Prepared by Val pavlovic, Omentum Media. Ph (02) 9744 7605, 0413 869 589.