The winners of the 2012 WAN Awards Healthcare sector are St Vincent’s O’Brien Centre in Sydney by Woods Bagot and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi by Skidmore Owings and Merrill (unbuilt).
St Vincent’s O’Brien Centre is a mental health facility that helps patients between sixteen and thirty years of age. The design focuses on the wellbeing of the patients, with flexible, well-lit spaces that create a sense of community and encourage a social aspect to the healing process. Woods Bagot provided a detailed design that included window seating to encourage patients to enjoy natural light, which has been shown to help alleviate stress.
The design is a world apart from the mental health facilities of the past, which were usually clinical and restrained. This new facility, with vibrant colours and a flowing layout, creates a friendly, comfortable community environment in which patients can heal, and aims to provide more support for the families of those in care. The jury said the appeal lay in the “evocative interiors” and the “warmth of colour and texture to the interior spaces.”
Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s (SOM) Sheikh Khalifa Medical City offers considered complexity as a medical model, shows sophistication in its design and makes strong connections to its context. The jury felt that the concept was “a very good piece of urban design,” and that it stood out amongst all the other Middle Eastern projects that bore no relation to place.
Livsrum by Effekt received a commendation in the unbuilt category for its integration of a human scale.