The Royal Children’s Hospital designed by Billard Leece Partnership and Bates Smart won the Public Design award at the 2012 Australian Interior Design Awards.
Melbourne’s $1 billion Royal Children’s Hospital uses innovative and evidence-based design principles to reflect changing healthcare practices, workplace patterns, user expectations, community aspirations and environmental responsibility. The overall design of the interiors is underpinned by the therapeutic benefits of nature in the healing process. The design story is derived from forms, patination and colour that have been mapped directly from the natural world to form an enriching and restorative environment for children, staff and the public. Considered detailing invites the human touch and de-institutionalizes the hospital genre. At the heart of the hospital is the six-storey Main Street, a naturally lit public thoroughfare that links all the elements of the hospital together and seamlessly integrates it with the parkland beyond. The approach to colour is intrinsically linked to the wayfinding strategy, which celebrates the many landscapes that make up the state of Victoria. Colours derived from the environment define each level and have been applied in a coordinated approach, from signage through to environmental graphics, paint, joinery, vinyl, furniture and soft furnishings. The result is an engaging and coherent, joyful and uplifting range of interiors.
The awarded and commended projects in this category demonstrate the impact of interior space on society. The Royal Children’s Hospital project reveals a legitimate balance between architecture and interior design; a brilliant collaboration resulting in an interior that is necessarily functional, yet incredibly beautiful. The jury believes that the project sets a new benchmark in this restrictive building typology and that it will be seen as a game-changer for healthcare in Australia. It is a project that will transform the public healthcare sector. The designers have achieved a cohesive design and a softness within a vast interior. The spaces are appropriate for patients, visitors and staff alike. They are warm, welcoming and not at all intimidating. The fresh colour palette, joinery detailing and lighting all combine to create interior spaces that have a positive impact on those within.