The recently completed colorful and green-minded Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia is challenging the notion that all medical facilities are sterile and unwelcoming. Designed by Melbourne architectural and urban design firm Lyons in collaboration with Brisbane architects Conrad Gargett, the expansive 12-story specialist pediatric teaching hospital is filled with natural light and colorful geometric designs to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for children. The architects drew inspiration for the hospital’s spacious and light-filled design from the concept of a “living tree.”
The Lady Cilento Children Hospital draws its young visitors in with its eye-catching and brightly colored purple and green ribbed facade; the nearby native Bougainvillea plant palette inspired the coloration. The architects rejected the conventional monolithic building type in favor of a sculptural form that swells into a shape of a green mountain topped with landscaped rooftops.
The interior takes a “salutogenic” design approach in that the architects researched and applied designs shown to help support patient recovery, such as clear wayfinding, views of nature, and access to green space, rooftop gardens, and green walls. “Design work began with research into the genealogy and typology of the contemporary hospital. We studied hospitals from the 1980s though to the present day and saw these as being largely functionally driven and medico-centric in their planning”, says Corbett Lyon of Lyons, Design Director on the LCCH project.
The hospital’s spatial layout is organized like a “living tree” and comprises two light-filled atriums from which a network of double-height spaces branch out. Those branches end in large glazed walls that frame views of key landmarks and natural landscapes in Brisbane. Nature-inspired art punctuate the hospital to bring bright splashes of color indoors and to further engage patients.
Images via Lyons