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Design for sustainability BY HELEN WAYLAND


elbourne has been voted the most live·

able city in Australia this )'ear a1td the second most li\'eable c ity in the world. Creal· ing a new children's hospital for this growing, vibra•H, and cuhur· ally diverse metropolis is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) under the Victorian Government's Part·

ncrships Victoria policy. Under the scheme, the Royal Children's Hospital ( RCH; figure l) -b<ing the public sector-will own and operate the hospit<'ll<'lnd provide all core clinical services, staffing,

teaching, training. and rest11rch, while Childre•t's Heahh Partner·

ship (CHP) finances., designs, cons-tructs, a•td maintains the new building for a period of 2S

years. The trtttop -~nopy-i ns-pired design for this family-focused healing environment takes advantage o( an extraordinary parkland setting (figure 2). The evidence- and research-based design incorporates carbonreducing t«hnologirs and water capture methods to meet the strong sustainability targets set.

Figure 1. 11'18 new Royal Children's Hospital. opening in 2011. in tts parkland setting, aimS toe a 40% re<IUC1ion in catbOn emiSsions.

The subtly colored sunshades evoke the leaves of the parkland's eucalyptus to emulate a treetop canopy as they la)·er and wrap \mder the fa~ade . Visitors enter through columns that gi\'t.S the feeling of being among the trees. Once the new hospital is complete. much of the old hospital Par1<1and setting will be demolished and this Spread O\'tr more than 10 acres of area will be restored as parkparkland, a campus arrangement land, with a net gain in vegttafor the lle'\11' RCH has a managetion. Throughout construction able low-rise scale to present a many signific-ant trees have been friendlier, more welcoming apretained. pearance to a child. Nortl1-south orientation Translucent glazed panels reAect the park inside to patient In a part of the world whert six rooms on the J\Orth .side. while houn: of sunlight is a year-round on the western fa~ade more than daily averagt, the dt$ig•t 1nakes 1,000 glass .. lta\'es," each six feet the most of natural light. Orien· wide and three feet high, shade uuion was the key factor in deter· the building from the fierce mining the position ofelements westerly sun. within the master plan. 10


Central to the functioning of the hospital and to the sustain· ability of the design is a clever wayfinding device: the street (figure)), Based on the idea that CYen the smallt$t country town has its amenities grouped around a central street, this -allows visitOt$ and staff an intuitive unden:tanding of where they arc in the hospital In this model, a large building becomes a community ofbuildings-an institutional building becomts deins-titutionalised. and each of the parts acquire$ independent character. The street conctpt, which conn«ts tht campus, is extendable and adapt· able. It allows for futurt organic growth or extra •address points.. to be added along the s1ree1. The site has a natural, diagonal fall from cast to west, which

means the north-facing street created three levels of gardens around the buildings (figure 4). The entire north-facing wall of the street is glass -and provides a lovely vista onto the Grtat Garden Court, the largest ofthe sheltered gardens S\ltrounding the hospital. Louvrts high in the atrium allow natural \'Cntilation and a thermal labyrinth provides passive heating and cooling for the area. Me-lbourne's skyline and park arc visible along the str«t, this s.crves as a permanent marker for wayfinding -and is complemented by memorable inttrnal devices S\IC.h as a giant aquarium next to the reeeption which helps direct people to the Emergency Department.


Profile for Bates Smart Architects

Royal Children's Hospital, Healthcare Design, Oct 2008  

Royal Children's Hospital, Healthcare Design, Oct 2008