RAC Regional eBike Trial
Western Australia | Regional
The design of the hospital responds to its urban environment to reflect its demand as a public building and its role in the promotion of health. These issues include responses to the urban environment, demand as a public building and the contribution of hospitals to the promotion of health.
The design takes a ‘salutogenic’ approach in that it incorporates design strategies that research has shown to directly support patient health and wellbeing, rather than focusing solely on diseases and their causes. This approach embraces attributes that improve the patient journey such as clear wayfinding, connections to nature and the outside world, and providing a green and sustainable environment for patients and staff.
The landscape design of the Queensland Children’s Hospital has been informed by contemporary research, which increasingly shows the significance of nature and the built environment on health and wellbeing. Around 46,000 individual plants make up the healing gardens and therapeutic outdoor spaces.
The landscape includes a large green sloping roof with transplanted 30 year-old fig trees, state of the art play areas, and several rooftop gardens for recreation and rehabilitation. This responds to evidence that access to green space is positively associated with better mental health.
The original client briefing was for a welcoming, bright and supportive environment for young patients and their families. The design process began with research into the typology of the modern hospital and centred on the design concept represents a 'living tree' with double height spaces as the 'branches' that radiate from two vertical atria or ‘trunks' in the centre of the plan. Branches extend out to the street to form framing portals and balconies that act to bring light and air into the building. There is strong evidence that natural ventilation is more supportive of health than mechanical ventilation, and so this has been included wherever practical in the design of the hospital. Each branch is oriented toward a landmark to provide orientation for users to find their bearings within the building, which is an important wayfinding feature.
The design was founded on community engagement to encompass a broad definition of community including the hospital community, patients and their carers, other visitors, staff and the neighbouring community members. The consultation process yielded specific concerns from those who regularly visited or worked on the precinct, such as vehicle pedestrian conflicts, legibility and the need to create a front entrance with a strong sense of arrival and identity – as a front door would for a home.
The design promotes a positive, rich and stimulating architectural experience to incorporate landscape, maximise daylight and views, and facilitate wayfinding. It also incorporates a vibrant art program embracing both visual art and performance. The focus is on legibility and connection with public spaces to landscape at all levels.