HASSELL: The new Fiona Stanley Hospital is changing the landscape of healthcare in Western Australia. The A$2 billion public hospital, which opened in October 2014, is now the major tertiary hospital for Perth’s south metropolitan region. Offering an exceptional standard of patient care in a naturally healing environment, the hospital supports a comprehensive suite of clinical services including advanced diagnostic, surgical and rehabilitation services, 24-hour emergency and acute care; while providing leading medical research and education facilities. The Fiona Stanley Hospital’s innovative design is the outcome of a partnership between HASSELL, SILVER THOMAS HANLEY and Hames Sharley, known as the Fiona Stanley Hospital Design Collaboration.
The landscape areas integrated throughout the 320,000 sqm precinct are vital to the hospital’s functional performance and clinical outcomes. Over $21 million was invested in the creation of green spaces at ground level, and across five storeys of the hospital’s eight buildings. Lakeside parklands, intimate rehabilitation courtyards, intensive rooftop gardens and urban plazas combine with the built form to ensure a continuous connection with nature for patients, staff and visitors.
Numerous studies conducted by evidence-based healthcare designer Roger Ulrich (a consultant on the hospital’s design) have shown that green vistas, natural sunlight and access to natural surroundings can improve patient psychological and physical wellbeing, reduce the duration of their stay and even reduce their need for pain medication. Ulrich’s research also shows that well-designed external spaces benefit hospital staff by providing them with the opportunity for rest and retreat, leading to increased job satisfaction, reduced absenteeism, staff turnover and operating costs, and ultimately improved patient care.
The Fiona Stanley Hospital is designed to maximise the benefits of accessible landscape for all users. A 400 metre concourse unifies the site, linking the inside and outside of the building and passing all of the main open spaces and plazas. It invites people to move freely throughout the campus. Key circulation routes and strategic zones within the buildings are designed to capture views of the landscape, and carefully selected artworks offer vibrancy and interest that assists with intuitive wayfinding.
All of the landscape features are intended to encourage physical and psychological healing, whether through small challenges posed while navigating paths, through the soothing spaces and vistas, or by creating sensory stimulation for patients. The design leads the way in the integration of landscape-based therapy tools. The rehabilitation courtyards incorporate pathways of various distances and obstacles to navigate; providing everyday challenges, such as navigating kerbs, slopes and stairs that allow patients and therapists to set goals and measure recovery.
Inpatients at the hospital’s State Rehabilitation Service can require treatment for long periods of time. With this in mind, the outdoor rehabilitation facilities are designed to feel like a suburban backyard, to help patients and their carers feel more at ease in the surrounds, aiding recuperation. The ‘backyard’ terraces are sheltered from the weather by a double volume, semi-transparent roof allowing the spaces to be used year-round. They are broken up into smaller zones that can be occupied comfortably by more than one patient at a time, including areas where beds can be positioned to overlook the parkland. Staff and patients can also use the external linear park as an area for respite and recreation to gather with family, friends and even pets.
Driven by early planning and disciplined design, the hospital landscape reinforces the distinctive natural character of the region, creating a strong sense of place and belonging for the hospital and the wider community. The design strives to maximise the environmental health of the precinct. A system of scenic lakes, swale, integrated parkland detention areas and underground infiltration tanks collects, filters and returns storm water to local underground aquifers that fulfil the site’s irrigation requirements. Two separate bushland conservation areas surrounding the hospital have been retained, and 2,100 trees and 160,000 shrubs, of predominantly native species planted to re-establish greenways and links in the local habitat. The botanically diverse roofscape aims to bridge the habitat of the federally protected Carnaby Black Cockatoo, while simultaneously offering a restorative outlook for patients.
The hospital’s namesake, renowned public health researcher Professor Fiona Stanley, has applauded the use of the natural environment to promote healing, saying: “There’s evidence that supports the fact that if you’re looking out onto a nice environment you actually get better quicker, which means patients return home quicker.
“From a staff point of view there are huge benefits, particularly given the stress that can come with working in a tertiary hospital environment … If they’re in a place, which is easy to work in, where they can go out and relax and unwind from a very taxing set of events or challenges – then that’s a real environment for good care,” Professor Stanley said.
Project: Fiona Stanley Hospital
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Client: Brookfield Multiplex / Government of Western Australian
Scale: 320,000 sqm precinct / 65,000 sqm planted landscape
Design Team: The Fiona Stanley Hospital Design Collaboration (comprising: HASSELL, Hames Sharley and SILVER THOMAS HANLEY)
Landscape Architect: HASSELL
Consultants: Roger Ulrich (Evidence-based Design); Stratagen (Environment); O’Brien Harrop Access (Accessibility); CADsult (Irrigation)
Photography: Peter Bennetts
YouTube URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLVr_WonA58