Royal Children’s Hospital
Melbourne, Australia
Royal Children’s Hospital
Melbourne, Australia

For a child, being sick can be terrifying. But, when you’re surrounded by family and well-wishers, and you’re in an environment that is comfortable and familiar, children show as much resolve as anyone when trying to get better. By giving a child a chance to be a kid, a hospital can alleviate any fear that a child has and help facilitate the healing process.

Royal Children’s Hospital is designed to be a world-class facility, offering the latest in quality care in a healing environment that is responsive to the needs of children, their families and staff. Regionally resonant positive distractions for the kids include interactive playgrounds, a two-story coral reef aquarium, a Scienceworks wonders of science display, a bean-bag theater showing the latest movies and a star-gazing Starlight Room. The children’s hospital is based on family-centered care. More than 85 percent of the rooms are single-bed rooms, providing privacy for patients and their families.

The Vision

Light, air and landscape.

The children’s hospital is based on family-centered care. More than 85 percent of the rooms will be single-bed rooms, providing privacy for patients and their families. Rooms will be designed to feel more like home with a place to put personal belongings, state-of-the-art entertainment systems and lighting controls. Storage areas and stay-over areas also are designed for family members.

Retreat, gathering areas and outdoor balconies are on each floor. In addition, the new hospital will house a supermarket and a gymnasium. A new Family Resource Center is located nearby to support the families with private cubicles, laundry areas, a lounge and kitchen, personal care suites and an outside courtyard.

Australia’s first five-star Green Star hospital, Royal Children’s is designed to be environmentally friendly by reducing consumption of water and energy as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

The Design

Architectural Expression

  • Primary façade creates an abstracted tree canopy
  • Variation of vibrantly colored sun-shading leaf petals range from red to green
  • Monumental scale of the outpatient block is bisected by a series of courtyard gardens
  • Star-shaped inpatient towers face the quiet northwest side of the site

Interior Experience

  • An abundance of light and soaring six-story concourse with a dynamic play of diagonal bridges functions as the primary organizational spine with axial focus on a landscaped garden mound and views to the Royal Park.
  • Regionally inspired art enrichment provides positive distractions and becomes the landmark feature. The giant fish tank draws visitors to experience the Australian reef while announcing access to the Emergency Department on the level below. A colorful multi-story sculpture provides a navigational cue from the lower-level parking to outpatient services.
  • Patient rooms feature the star tower shape that enables a courtyard view with kid-friendly modern hotel ambiance and amenities.
  • Patient corridors culminate in family seating areas with panoramic views.
  • Landmark art supports easy navigation of the expansive environment.
  • Regional botanicals and wildlife inspire the color and texture while art creates distinctive identities for the various interior environments.

Evidence-based Distractions

  • To mitigate pain, fear and stress of the ill child, parents, siblings, grandparents and friends
  • To engage and experience delight, wonder and modern sophistication