Text description provided by the architects. Hospital architecture must balance the needs of an ever-changing environment driven by developing technologies, complex workflows, infection control, patients with increasingly complex illnesses and sophisticated engineering systems, whilst also navigating and incorporating social and environmental sustainability, economics, and most importantly - human beings. NBH is vast and complex with 70000m2 of space contained within its walls.
A key focus of the project was to create a sense of welcome for patients, their families and the hundreds of staff who inhabit it daily. An important part of being welcoming is to counter the stress and anxiety often felt in hospitals, and to remove the sense of the anonymous institution. This has been accomplished through consideration of scale, material, color, texture and importantly, clarity in navigation.
NBH, delivered under a procurement model that doesn’t favour good design by putting the architect’s ‘employer’ as the building contractor, navigates the requirements of sophisticated clinical services delivery whilst providing an environment that fosters dependability, security and optimism for patients, a positive workplace for staff, and a meaningful and connected new civic building for the community. Innovation is delivered through making a complex and highly engineered building legible and welcoming.
The key strategic design move of the hospital’s high street combines a sense of welcome, community, and navigation. It is a space for patients, visitors, families, and importantly for the staff who inhabit and navigate the building daily. Artwork and graphics have been used to bring color and joy throughout the facility – incorporated at a scale that understands and befits the space and connects back to the community through the use of local artists, neighboring high school students and reference to the local flora and fauna. It is the first hospital in NSW to achieve a 4 Star Green Star rating (design, build and operation).