2018 National Architecture Awards: The Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture

Bendigo Hospital by Silver Thomas Hanley with Bates Smart Public Architecture: Sir Zelman Cowen Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

Bendigo Hospital is a significant investment in regional public health infrastructure in Victoria. Hospitals are generally a problematic type – they are large and functionally complex, have tended to be designed from the inside out and often fail to acknowledge the urban setting or a broader set of ideas about health and the role of the environment in our wellbeing. Bendigo Hospital departs from this convention to bring about an environment that prioritizes health as a holistic process of recovery and rejuvenation.

In addition to making a humane and sophisticated holistic environment, the Bendigo Hospital is a clever urban response that respectfully and strategically inserts a very large building into the low-rise historic fabric of Bendigo. The hospital buildings operate as a complex of several facilities that use a shared language of a minimal palette of long-life materials. The building form is well articulated and manages to address both internal functional imperatives and the drivers of scale and urban setting. It is through this careful urban response that the hospital predominantly comes across as a public building, not just a building for the unwell. It is permeable and inviting, with a restrained demeanour that sensitively acknowledges that the hospital can be a place of life-changing events.

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The siting of the building on the long edge of the site allowed for an orderly decanting of the existing hospital buildings and will eventually also provide an enlarged landscaped forecourt that will reinforce the public expression of the building. The current landscape is already well integrated with the building and despite the complex, large-format plans demanded by these facilities, the use of internal courtyards ensures that views of the outside and of the meticulous landscape are always available for the building’s users and staff.

Projects of this calibre only come about through insightful client leadership, quality project governance and responsive architecture. Bendigo Hospital represents a new model of the hospital that embraces the holistic nature of health and the important role that the environment plays in the wellbeing of a whole community

For more coverage, read Julie Willis’s project review from Architecture Australia Sept/Oct 2017.


Silver Thomas Hanley
Project Team
Aija Thomas (project director, masterplanner and health architect), Natalie Pitt, Bruce Crook (health architects), Mark Saunders (director, construction administration), Brent Railton, Brendan Grayson (project leaders), Cian Davis (design leader), Kristen Whittle (project director and design leader), Ali Little (project interior designer), Mark Healey (interior design director), Willem Huang (project architect), Tim Leslie (design architect), Kendall Strong, Myles Lauritz, Andrew Raftopoulos, Anqi Zeng, Ray Feile, Prue Exelby, Jason Knight, Sanela Kosta, PK Lee, Tammy Yu, Jesper Nyborg (interior designers), Quentin Leroy (designer), Mark Di Bartolo, James Christophidis (facade architects), Max Saric, Damian Tennant, Vas Butrakoski, Rick Notari, Daniel Effendy, Brian Mason (architectural technicians), Anna Fox, Laura Claassen, Melanie Buettikofer, Guilherme Rodrigues (graduates of architecture), Ian Potter (3D visualization specialist)
Bates Smart
Builder Lendlease
Fabricator VOS Construction and Joinery
Lighting consultant Oculus
Services engineer Norman Disney and Young
Site engineer Inhabit Group
Structural engineer Irwinconsult
Wayfinding ID/Lab
Site details
Location Bendigo,  Vic,  Australia
Site type Urban
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Hospitals
Project Details
Status Built
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