PTW Architects designs new mental health facility for Austalian capital
In 2008, PTW was commissioned by ACT Health to design a new adult mental health inpatient unit (AAIU) at The Canberra Hospital.
In search of a new model, PTW and the ACT Mental Health team consulted widely with stakeholders and the community to develop a brief that meets the aspirations of consumers, carers and health professionals. This brief was informed by over 380 hours of consultation with approximately 70 different stakeholder groups, research literature and benchmarking.
The AAIU will comprise 40 beds initially, with masterplanning for a 10 bed extension at a later time. On the ground level, there will be a 10 bed high dependency (HDU) wing, 30 low dependency (LDU) beds in five wings, a central socialisation spine, a therapies wing and support areas for treatment, assessment, staff, visitors and reception. On the upper level, there are staff offices and amenities.
The internal spaces are composed around a series of courtyards, providing access to natural light and green spaces with the ability to move freely between interior and exterior. The central spine contains the primary socialisation and interaction spaces for staff and consumers, an eating area and lounge areas.
Open space to the west and south provide gardens for rest and working (vegetables and orchard), a sports court, amphitheatre and walking track.
The new unit is designed to support and promote choice and optimism among consumers, carers and staff.
While it is not proposed to apply formally for Green Star accreditation, ESD principles underpin all design strategies, in particular:
- Orientation of bedroom wings;
- Abundant natural light;
- Potential for natural ventilation;
- Hydronic floor heating and cooling;
- Thermal mass of concrete slab and masonry walls;
- Building materials with relatively low embodied energy values (brickwork and timber);
- Water collection and retention (re-use for irrigation).