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Joan Kirner Women's & Children's Hospital

The new multi-storey ward building of the Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital in Melbourne heralds a new approach to the design of healthcare facilities with its colourful façade. The new health-oriented design is intended to provide orientation for patients and visitors, increase well-being and reduce stress.

Lyons Architects
Dianna Snape Photography
St Albans, VIC, Australia
  • Concretal-Lasur

Joan Kirner Women's and Children's and Royal Hobart Hospital in Australia

Colour, design and architecture can support the healing of patients - this has been known for a long time. In Australia, the Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital in Melbourne and the Royal Hobart Hospital in Tasmania's capital Hobart are two special hospitals. They were designed according to principles that promote the recovery and well-being of the patient. The concepts of the responsible architectural firm Lyons Architecture follow the doctrine of salutogenesis. It serves to provide people with the necessary resources and opportunities to orient themselves towards health rather than illness. - The facades of both houses are invitingly designed and relate to their surroundings. KEIMFARBEN's Concretal-Lasur product in 16 different colour shades was used here in part. Because: "The mineral product matches the concrete material of the facade perfectly and is able to produce semi-transparent surfaces to create a watercolour effect on the facade surfaces," explains Corbett Lyon. In contrast to highly plastic-coated systems, mineral products from KEIM - from glazing to opaque - emphasise the character of the concrete. The reason for choosing this mineral glaze, as with all KEIMFARBEN products, was the special UV stability and light fastness," explains Ralf Eckl, Export Sales Manager at KEIMFARBEN.

The interior design of both hospitals is characterised by calming surfaces, natural materials, muted colours, lots of light, works of art and views - all in the spirit of salutogenesis to provide the best possible support for patients' recovery.

Three questions for Corbett Lyon

What makes the new generation of hospitals?

New hospitals are being designed with the social and psychosocial needs of patients and their experiences in hospital in mind. These facilities increasingly incorporate natural light and ventilation, views to the outdoors, connections to green spaces, colour and spatial strategies to create a healthcare environment that is both supportive and therapeutic.The question needs to be asked "How can the building be designed to positively support people during their care experience?"

What are your general recommendations for architects and colour designers designing hospitals?

The building should have the characteristics of a hotel - a place to rest and recuperate, not quite like home, but with the same supportive and restorative qualities. Spatial arrangements that allow for clear and intuitive wayfinding, the design and layout of rooms that give patients back a sense of manageability and control, and connections to nature are also important.

What colour tones make patients feel comfortable?

The colours used in the building should be derived from clinical and scientific research on colour theory as well as from the natural colours of the environment. This is because colour, natural materials and also integrated art, when used extensively, promote a sense of well-being and provide a pleasant distraction for patients.

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