The therapeutic value of nature
We set out to design a welcoming, bright and supportive environment for patients, families and health workers. To achieve this, our design is underpinned by salutogenic principles to facilitate health and wellbeing for both patients and health workers. These principles include clear way finding, connections to the outside, an abundance of natural light, views of nature, and access to green spaces.
The tree structure of the building enables way-finding, and offers access to natural light, fresh air and landscaping – elements that expedite healing and improve feelings of wellbeing. The building’s corridor structure provides significant views of the city, helping to normalise the space from both the outside in and the inside out. This blurring of spaces also helps to address the grand size of the building, making it less intimidating.
Designing an environment with an abundance of green space was a key element in supporting wellness in QCH. Rooftop gardens, sloping green walls and enclosed courtyard gardens can be found throughout. We designed patios on the upper levels to be used by patients, families, and staff for relaxation and rehabilitation. Major windows allow people to see in and out of the building, helping with the context of time and place as well as building community connections.
Colour, natural materials and art are similiarily used to promote wellbeing and engage and distract young patients. Sculptures of brightly coloured parrots inhabit the space in the central atrium and images of butterflies, beetles and insects printed on timber panels line the building’s public spaces.