JOURNAL/ The Health Edit/2014


The Health Edit

Research worldwide is increasingly pointing towards a patient-centric model with spaces that promote comfort, wellness and recovery. It is essential to the experience of a healthcare patient to create a place for positive healing as opposed to just treating disease.

Bates Smart’s latest healthcare projects demonstrate an empathetic design approach that has care at its core.

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Cabrini Gandel Wing, A space for healing

 “The environment is light and bright, and that in itself has an uplifting impact on staff, just as it does for patients.”

Dr Michael Walsh

Chief Executive, Cabrini Health

At the heart of the design for the new Gandel Wing at Cabrini, Malvern, is the transformation of hospitals from sterile, clinical environments to places which are welcoming, warm and tranquil.

The new building combines state-of-the-art treatment, with the latest in technology to provide patients with an exemplar model of healthcare. The new wing rises seven storeys above ground and four below, providing an additional 110 beds. The facility provides treatment for cancer, cardiac, emergency, geriatric care, infectious disease and maternity.

The key building façade element is a slatted terracotta screen which provides sun shading, allows for views outwards and maintains privacy for patients internally. The facade complements the adjacent 1960s hospital building, uniting the site into a harmonious and identifiable health campus.

Providing generous views was an important part of the design strategy, as research has demonstrated that access to the natural world improves the wellbeing of patients. According to Studio Director, Mark Healey, the interior team “approached every aspect of this design through the lens of the patient to ensure new levels of dignity, comfort and safety.”

Rooms have been designed to feel more akin to a hotel room than a traditional hospital room. Bespoke joinery conceals medical equipment and natural materials give the rooms a warm ambience.

The design team worked to ensure patient safety, providing each room with a direct sight line between the bed and ensuite, coupled with subtle handrail lighting. This demonstrates a more empathetic approach to healthcare design that has the holistic wellbeing of the patient at its core.

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Tweed Valley Hospital: A hospital in the landscape

 “Our design vision extends beyond clinical functionality, to create a unique place of healing.”

Johan Hermijanto

Associate Director, Bates Smart

Bates Smart, in collaboration with Silver Thomas Hanley, is working with Health Infrastructure (NSW) to design the new major referral hospital for the Tweed-Byron region. The new hospital will span seven levels and will deliver over 400 new beds, providing health services to meet the needs of the region’s growing population.

Tweed Valley Hospital will be built on an elevated ridge with resplendent 360-degree views of the coastline, distant mountain ranges and surrounding forested areas. The design draws inspiration from the region’s rich agrarian past, with a local community that is inextricably connected to the land.

“The campus layout provides a coherent arrangement of spaces which support social interaction and encourage local community engagement. The development will enrich the immediate local area, introducing healthcare to complement the neighbouring civic and educational land uses in a manner that’s environmentally and culturally considered,” says Johan Hermijanto, Associate Director.

The building’s form is scaled appropriately and designed into the topography of the site to create a strong dialogue with the land. The architectural expression is comprised of three distinct typologies, being quadrant anchors, a recessive core and surrounding granular forms coming together as a collection of objects in the landscape.

Building forms are expressed distinctly from one another utilising a palette of durable material finishes which reference the agricultural context of the project. Earthy pigmented concrete is employed alongside profiled metals and glass to create a patchwork of expressions with a memory of the Australian countryside. The strong lines of the agrarian landscape are embedded in the façade expression, landscape and interiors to create a holistic and unified design response.

The project also includes the design of two Health Hub pavilion buildings that provide ancillary health and education services within the hospital’s pedestrian focused town centre. The Tweed Valley Hospital is currently under construction and due for completion in 2022.

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The Tweed Landscape: Combining forest, farmland and coast

 “Landscape is ‘breathed’ through the building, with a focus on key axes of movement to maximise user experience.”

Landscape Design Team

Turf Design Studio

There is a high level of synergy between the landscape and built form of this project – the result of a strong landscape narrative established early in the concept design phase.

The borrowed landscape of forest, rural farmland, and elevated views to the coast was acknowledged as a significant asset from the beginning. Landscape is 'breathed' through the building, with a focus on key axes of movement to maximise the user experience. The new hospital will provide a human scale interface with generous landscaped open spaces and walking paths to encourage interaction with the natural environment while improving opportunities for social interaction, passive recreation and physical activity.

Biophilic design is a core consideration to foster health and well-being and expedite healing. Visitors are welcomed via a tree-lined boulevard that connects the hospital buildings while ensuring an intuitive circulation experience across the site. This is paired with a green spine that offers a landscaped pedestrian link through the buildings and a strong connection to nature.

Hoop pine is used extensively throughout the site and the interior as a marker of safety and a place of respite - ideas that permeate many of the traditional song lines of the local indigenous community. There is a focus on creating a diversity of green places; from the open field for physical activity to the intimate internal courtyard. Courtyard spaces are also included to break the form of the hospital campus, creating a calm, nurturing outlook for patients.

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The CityShapers Interview Series | Dr Michael Walsh, Cabrini Health

 “A healing environment encourages patients and their families to start thinking outside of and beyond their illness.”

Dr Michael Walsh

Chief Executive, Cabrini Health

Bates Smart has a long-standing relationship with Cabrini Health, which creates confidence to design and innovate more freely. Bates Smart Studio Director, Mark Healey, sat down with Dr Michael Walsh, Cabrini’s Chief Executive, to discuss his thoughts on health, how design will help drive healing for Cabrini’s patients and how this new facility will provide much needed support for the local community.

Mark Healey: Bates Smart shares a long-standing relationship with Cabrini Health that spans over 50 years, having designed MC1+2, and now the new Gandel Wing. What is the value of partnerships in the healthcare environment?

Dr Michael Walsh: I think the most important element of a partnership in healthcare is a synchronicity of core values. That is, the core values that underpin both organisations. What Cabrini has learned over time from the long relationship with Bates Smart is a deep knowledge of the company’s ethos. This benefits both parties because it means there is more opportunity for innovation as a result of this strong understanding of each other.

MH: Bates Smart and Cabrini work so well together because there is a shared ethos. I think this really resonates with the local community and the tremendous support that has been shown for the building. What do you think is unique about Cabrini that allows these partnerships to flourish with the community?

MW: Cabrini enjoys a strong community identity in Malvern. There is a wide range of local community groups in the area – Jewish, Italian, Greek – with whom Cabrini Health has grown. We’ve also benefited from being part of a sort of medically-focussed belt stretching from Prahran and down to Clayton. I think if you walked the halls of Cabrini, a lot of patients would recall their being born in the area. So from the beginning, Cabrini has always been a community facility. And I think with that loyalty, the community can develop a sense of trust in the whole design team to deliver a first-class hospital.

MH: We design with the concept of salutogenesis in mind, an approach that focuses on healing and wellbeing rather than treating disease. Do you think design can affect the patients’ ability to recover and how important is this concept for Cabrini?

MW: I absolutely believe that good healthcare design can deeply benefit a patient’s recovery, and there is good evidence to support this. It’s fascinating to notice the way things have evolved over 60 or 70 years in design thinking, the delivery of healthcare, and the impact of that on the outcome for the patient.

One of the interesting things about Cabrini is its history tracing back to the 1950s. There are various living and breathing epochs scattered around the site, and if you walk through them you will notice a gradual emergence of a design thinking that considers the amenity of patients, visitors and staff.

What is really crucial in the design of the Gandel Wing is the emphasis on environment. Not only with the use of natural materials to give rooms a warm ambience, but the idea of a healing environment that encourages patients and their families to start thinking outside of their illness rather than being introspective. The Gandel wing is a significant milestone in healthcare design thinking that puts the patient experience and wellbeing at the forefront.

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Healing with interior connections to place, community and nature

 “Healthcare settings that are designed in partnership with nature are proven to ground patients and improve wellbeing.”

Mark Healey

Studio Director, Bates Smart

The interior expression of Tweed Valley Hospital draws inspiration from local, natural materials and supports the feeling of connectivity to the local community.

A clear relationship with the natural environment has been established, utilising the proven benefits of nature on the well-being of patients, carers and staff of the hospital. This has deinstitutionalised the key hospital spaces to create a ‘kind space’ that encourages healing.

The masterplan of the site and the major internal circulation networks are defined by a series of major and minor pathways that carefully organise the hospital from the north and south and assist visitors to orient themselves through the campus.

The main lobby provides a village-like typology and is intended to be a social, light filled place where people feel safe and are encouraged to rest and meet. Intuitive wayfinding techniques are employed to highlight critical entry points and mitigate the need for gratuitous signage.

“This relationship between nature and wayfinding is a key design feature of the design of the hospital, allowing for an intuitive reading of one’s position in space which will assist in reducing levels of stress for occupants of the building,” says Mark Healey, Studio Director.

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