Bringing together the in-patient services of Auckland, Greenlane and National Women’s hospitals, this is New Zealand’s most complex health project to date and, at 80,000 square metres, one of New Zealand’s largest public buildings.
Services delivery, rather than assets, drove this project. From this perspective, and in conjunction with MSJ (McConnell Smith & Johnson), we engaged in the design process to ensure that service delivery models are reviewed with the hospital board and wider consultant groups to determine the most appropriate methods. Moreover, we concentrated on designing a building that would provide an enriching environment to promote and maintain the wellbeing of users.
A strong connection to the outside world was an important aspect for both patients and staff. As a result, the building maximises natural light and patient outlook to create a welcoming environment.
Windows in Operating theatres allow staff working long hours a sense of their external environment. Windowsills in all wards have been lowered to enable patients to see more than the sky from their beds. Most wards are pulled to the exterior of the building, enabling views to Rangitoto Island, Mt Eden and the local neighbourhood. Internal rooms are enlivened by a landscaped atrium that rises up through the heart of the building. The atrium brings in natural light and provides an internal courtyard for staff and patients to walk, rest and meet with family and friends.
Colour is used as an informal language throughout. Patient rooms feel calming due to earthy tones, light wood and colour detailing; ceiling bulkheads and changes in floor-colour mark the points where ward corridors meet the circulation spine.
Common spaces are restful yet gently social. Areas move between private-withdraw and public-openness with ease and with respect for the needs of patients and staff.
The change in alignment of the building’s southern and northern halves enabled the introduction of public lifts and stairs at the eastern main entry, and a more generous lobby space at the point of arrival on each floor. The pedestrian street that leads from here to the embedded central courts progressively narrows, the variable interrelationships of its defining walls providing subtle deflections in the line of view and movement. The courts themselves start at different floor levels, the northern court at level three (the staff café) and the southern court at level two (a strongly landscaped space).
Working to a very demanding budget, Auckland Hospital meets the service requirements of a major facility and provides a calming, healing, friendly environment, with low stress atmosphere. This environment contributes to the wellbeing of both the patients and the staff.