Billard Leece Partnership, Bates Smart and HKS complete major new hospital for children inspired by a connection to nature
Billard Leece Partnership, Bates Smart and HKS's design for The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne, completed September 2011, is based on ‘state of the art’ ideas developed by the Hospital around a family-centred care model that puts children and their parents at the centre of the facility. With evidence-based design showing the importance and value of nature in the healing process, the architectonic language is informed by the natural textures, forms and colours of surrounding Royal Park. The built environment infused with the experience of nature creates an enriching and restorative environment for children, staff and the public.
Split into a campus masterplan with a central Main Street addressing major new public gardens to the north and southwest, the collection of buildings have light-filled landscaped gardens around their full perimeter, avoiding a ‘front and back’ portrayal and enhancing the connection between child and park. The natural slope of the site links the facilities to the park at three different levels intertwining the Hospital with its park setting.
The six storey Main Street has expansive views of the parkland beyond and links the elements of the Hospital. A truly civic space, it features a two-storey coral reef aquarium, large-scale artworks, a meerkat enclosure and interactive video screens as well as meeting and eating space, which make an otherwise stressful visit to the Hospital something special.
The Inpatient Building is designed in a star shape, connecting the rooms to the park: more than 80 per cent have park views, others look into courtyards. Specially designed glass sunshades on the Hospital’s exterior allow activity in the grounds below to be viewed from the patient’s bed. A significant feature of the building is the sweep of coloured ‘leaf’ blades fabricated in curved panels which provide protection from the sun whilst creating a shimmering organic structure and identity for the RCH.
Recognising the health of our environment and the health of people are inextricably linked, the RCH delivers a holistic approach to sustainability – environmental, emotional, physical and psychological. The integrated design separates support from clinical areas enabling shut down of areas not required to run 24 hours per day and significantly reduces the carbon footprint and energy consumption through a combination of tri-generation; bio-mass heating, solar thermal panels and water conservation including blackwater treatment. At the completion of Stage 2, parkland will replace where the old hospital once stood.
Architectural services: Billard Leece, Bates Smart and HKS, Inc.
Asset Manager: Babcock & Brown
Builder: Bovis Lend Lease
Facilities Manager: Spotless Group