You could be forgiven if, at first glance, you thought Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital was an art museum. Brightly colored fins, stacked buildings, and balconies jutting out at different angles challenge approaches to layout and give the hospital a stunning, modern look that also integrates it into the community.
The billion dollar public hospital opened in 2014 and has 359 beds. A “living tree” was used as a model for the layout. A network of double-height spaces (branches) radiate from two vertical atria (trunks) at the centre of the hospital. These vertical and horizontal spaces allow users to intuitively navigate the building. In addition, each floor has its own dominant color palette to help orientation.
With the abundance of natural light entering through the portals and windows, more than 2,900 fins are strategically placed on the façade to serve as sunshades as well as reflectors to bring in daylight. Brisbane’s subtropical climate makes it ideal for maximizing daylight as well as natural ventilation, so the design also includes louvers to bring in fresh air to the main public areas. Localized heating and cooling is provided in the reception areas for the few days that optimal temperature cannot be provided by the natural ventilation system.
To further connect to the outdoors, just 23 percent of the site area is covered by a conventional roof. The remaining
77 percent is public open space or roof gardens.
Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital creates an inviting campus setting with expansive openings to the street and public amenities—including a café, courtyard, and play space—inviting engagement with the facility and allowing it to become a normal extension of the community.