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New Royal Adelaide Hospital Now Open_____

New Royal Adelaide Hospital Now Open

With the New Royal Adelaide Hospital now open to the public, South Australian’s have a hospital facility that has set a new benchmark for hospital design.

As project Landscape Architects, working with HYLC Joint Venture, Tract Consultants has designed 80 internal spaces, comprising open courtyards, and roof gardens and balconies across the nine levels of the hospital, with a combined area of over 1.6 hectares of internal green space within the footprint of the New Royal Adelaide Hospital. A further 3.8 hectares of ‘external’ landscape areas, comprised of the east plaza and entry concourse, and the Western Parklands that knits the New Royal Adelaide Hospital with its surrounding urban context.

Dubbed ‘a Hospital within a Park, a Park within a Hospital’, the green themes will be embedded in the delivery of health care service – with select courtyards specifically designed for therapy and rehabilitation, and all landscapes to exert a beneficial impact all hospital users.

Intuitively, it would certainly be appealing to have access to a garden when confined to hospital – who wouldn’t choose a room with a view, a courtyard to visit and a breath of fresh air? Not just for patients, but also for visitors and hospital staff. But this brief was not merely to support the case for ‘pleasant’ recovery spaces – this is about quantifiable health outcomes and hard economic rationalism.

The financial implication for Governments in reducing the length of patient hospital-stay equates to massive savings in taxpayer funded budgets. Evidence-based approaches to health facility design that can accelerate patient recovery and reduce re-admissions have the attention of politicians, bureaucrats, medical practitioners, and administrators. By extension, the role of the landscape and landscape architects in health care environments is no longer regarded as an afterthought with the addition of a few potted palms, but an intrinsic and valued element of health care service delivery.

Access to external areas and use of these spaces for therapy and rehabilitation is a key design feature of the hospital, as are the myriad green initiatives, including water and energy efficiency, which will secure a Green Building Council of Australia, 4 Star rating – becoming the most expensive and technically complex Green Star rated project in Australia.
From the big picture landscape design approach; identifiable, permeable, navigable, demonstrating outstanding technical and environmental principles, tamper-resistance surfaces and fixings, ramps and steps suited to compromised mobility, ample rest points, plant selection vetted to exclude toxic, allergenic and thorny species, the landscape design has been a critical component at every step of the journey.

Located on former railway yards at the corner of North Terrace and Port Road between the CBD, Adelaide Park Lands and River Torrens, the 10 hectare site is designed to embrace the surrounding parklands. The New Royal Adelaide Hospital project brings a new function to a previously derelict and underutilised part of the city, activating the precinct beyond its boundary.

The New Royal Adelaide Hospital facility will service South Australians as their primary public hospital, replacing the current Royal Adelaide Hospital, hence ‘new’ in its working title. The facility provides 700 inpatient beds (plus 100 day beds), including 60 ICU beds and 40 mental health beds, providing care for 85,000 inpatient admissions per annum. The RAH will be the nucleus of a medical precinct, with new health and research facilities co-located at the SA Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Community, landscape, and art have all played a pivotal role in the design and delivery of the new RAH project, which has been seven years in the process. As with the landscape interventions, the inclusion of integrated Art throughout the hospital is another means of improving health and wellbeing, and building a unique identity for the RAH through a human touch – a departure from the clinical anonymity of most hospitals. 26 South Australian artists have been involved in collaboration with the HYLC JV consultants to deliver works with a strong sense of place and community, and which assist with wayfinding through a chromatic palette that moves from water (blue), flora (green, and earth (red).

Connection to nature through the use of gardens and access to views encourages stress reduction, elevates positive feelings, reduces negative emotions and gives some distraction from pain, distress, and anxiety. Research also suggests that natural settings can promote changes in blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and brain activity. The green space of the facility is intended to be healing, restorative and therapeutic […]

Excerpt from the New Royal Adelaide Hospital Functional Brief, pertaining to Green Space design
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