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Monday, May 18, 2009

Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Design Inc + Woodhead complete Australia’s newest state of the art hospital focused on health services for women
The Royal Women’s Hospital is Australia’s newest state of the art hospital, focussed on the provision of medical services specifically for women. A Public Private Partnership, the project is efficient, contemporary, innovative and sustainable, and designed to allow maximum flexibility over the 25 year concession period.

The project's core aims include the creation of a patient-focused, ‘non clinical’ environment reflecting user preferences, and to provide a sensory, stress free experience while responding to cultural / ethnic demographics. The building is designed to make a positive contribution to the built form of this densely developed campus and CBD location, and to allow greater efficiency and "value outcome", creating an intelligent balance between commercial parameters and a sustainable WOL approach.

The building form complements the surrounding urban fabric, the two narrow wings demonstrate the importance of natural light, views, orientation and fresh air, the drivers of design. The relationship with surrounding buildings creates an unmistakable health precinct gateway to the CBD. 1,000 women representing the ethnic and cultural diversity of the patients were interviewed at the outset of the project, generating an evidenced-based, patient-focussed approach.

The innovative planning approach is logical and structured, providing safe, efficient patient care. The two wings are joined by the central location of the lobbies, lifts and stairs for easy way finding. Floor plates and structural grids allow for flexible departmental layouts and occupancy. Decentralised plant rooms create flexible reticulation to meet current and projected needs and the ability to reconfigure with minimal disruption.

A number of environmental innovations have been incorporated, including displacement air-conditioning to inpatient wards with 100% fresh air, intelligently shaded elevations with sun aspect and use of thermal mass inertia (arrow floor plates / natural ventilation / optimum natural light).

The hospital is designed to reduced stress through intuitive wayfinding, separation of visitor / staff circulation and separation of pedestrian/vehicular traffic. Recyclable / renewable-source materials are selected througout, as are systems for low energy and water consumption, and there has also been careful evaluation of WOL costs to balance with capital costs

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