The Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane was completed in November 2014. Its innovative and colourful design incorporates leading edge diagnostic and treatment facilities which provide specialist health services for children.
The client's brief was for a welcoming, bright and supportive environment for young patients and their families. The design process began with research into the typology of the modern hospital.
The project was an opportunity to contest prevailing functionalist and medico-centric models, to radically rethink the care model and design a building which would act as a touchstone for the local community.
The design concept is of a 'living tree'. Double height spaces (branches) radiate from two vertical atria (trunks) in the centre of the plan. These extend to the street to form framing portals and balconies and the branches also bring light and air into the building.
Colour, natural materials and two and three-dimensional art are used extensively in the building to promote patient wellbeing and provide engaging distractions for young patients. The focus is on legibility and connection with public spaces, and to landscape.
The landscape architecture, carried out solely by Conrad Gargett, plays a major role in the design of the hospital and includes a large green sloping roof, transplanted 30 year-old fig trees, state of the art play areas a community plaza and eleven roof gardens for recreation and rehabilitation.
The design promotes a positive, rich and stimulating architectural experience, incorporating landscape, maximising daylight and views, and facilitating wayfinding.