Roof gardens bring natural benefits to Australia’s largest children’s hospital

Landscape architecture plays central role at Brisbane hospital

Well designed outdoor space is an integral feature of the design of Australia’s largest and most technically advanced children’s hospital, the new Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, in Brisbane.

The vast and visually imposing urban building was designed by architect Conrad Gargett and Lyons. Contrad Gargett was also responsible for the landscape design, which includes a large green sloping roof, six transplanted 30 year-old fig trees and a number of roof gardens designed for both recreation and rehabilitation.

The landscape design ‘goes much further than just designing the external areas,’ says Katharina Nieberler-Walker, principal landscape architect with Conrad Gargett: ‘It integrates with the architectural intent and portrays the underlying philosophy of the whole project: to design for the people – for patients and their families.’

According to the architect, the holistic design of the hospital ‘highlights the wellness benefits of nature with healing gardens and therapeutic outdoor spaces’. Generous landscaped areas at several levels, allow access to the outside environment, as well as providing natural light and fresh air.

The roof gardens, which include private, public and therapeutic areas, total an area of more than 3,200m² and feature more that 46,000 individual plants. They include 320m² of “high-quality” turf, eight garden shelters, 12 green monoliths and 33 epiphyte columns.

The hospital comprises a major landmark for Brisbane, connecting with the city’s popular South Bank precinct, Somerville House and St Laurence’s College. Its international award-winning design references the structure of a tree with a ‘trunk’ and ‘branches’ providing vertical and horizontal linkages which, the architect says, “unite diverse cultures, moving beyond silo departments and creating a rich community environment”.

Extensive sun shading responds to Brisbane’s subtropical climate and forms a major design element with purple and green blades referencing the surrounding nature, while expansive openings in the building’s façade connect the internal spaces to the outside.

Dubbed a ‘super hospital’, the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital brings staff and services from two hospitals together into a new purpose-designed 359 bed tertiary/quaternary hospital designed to deliver the very best paediatric care to the state-wide community.

The design of the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital has already been recognised on the international stage with Conrad Gargett Lyons winning the prestigious Future Health Project Award in the Design & Health International Academy Awards last year.

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