Design that promotes healing and celebrates seasonal shifts

Monday, 02 October, 2023

Design that promotes healing and celebrates seasonal shifts

The Tumut Hospital redevelopment has delivered a fully integrated, modern health service to meet the current and future needs of Tumut, Gundagai, Batlow and Adelong communities in New South Wales.

The redevelopment features 26 inpatient beds (including three maternity beds), a Level 3 Emergency Department, Community Health Services, Clinical and Non-Clinical Support Services, staff accommodation and a helipad.

Planned, designed and delivered by the Australian family-owned construction company Richard Crookes Constructions (RCC) in consultation with Health Infrastructure NSW (HI), Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and Jacobs Group, the architectural expression of the hospital responds to both the design principles and the context — keeping the building simply articulated, while achieving a contemporary expression appropriate to a modern healthcare facility.

The building features a low-pitched profiled metal roof with a raised skylight over the main east-west public corridor.

It was decided that single level design should optimise functional flows, spatial efficiencies, capital cost, intuitive wayfinding and building services integration in a welcoming environment. A higher central roof form denotes the main entry and provides a larger volume in the public entry lobby.

All clinical and non-clinical services are now delivered under one roof in the purpose-designed building, with logical zoning that incorporates contemporary models of care.

The design team chose to keep the interiors simple, based on the principles of clarity and positivity. They took advantage of the site’s orientation to bring natural elements into the hospital — creating a healing space for current and future patients to enjoy.

Four distinct space typologies were designed, inspired by the surrounding natural sites and foliage display during seasonal shifts that are celebrated by the Tumut community.

This framework informed each space in appearance, colour and character. Summer-based colours are used throughout patient areas to represent warmth and privacy, with timber accents and laminate finishes in bright and warm colours borrowed from the ever-changing foliage displays; transitional seasons such as spring and autumn reflect shared patient and family areas, staff areas and support areas; and aspects of warm and cool greys, with soft green and blue colours, are drawn on to connect the winter and summer colours throughout the hospital.

RCC’s project team, led by Ross Williams, Project Manager, mitigated challenges related to COVID-19 throughout construction to deliver the state-of-the-art facility on time and to budget. As a result of the epidemic, many workers found themselves living away from home for long stretches of time. To overcome this, the entire team drew on their strong sense of camaraderie and genuine mateship — banding together to offer support and, in turn, be supported throughout.

“Working on this project really was like working with family. Although it was such a tough time for everyone during the pandemic, we were lucky to be able to socialise through our work together onsite. Some of the people there have become lifelong friends outside of the workplace,” said Rhys Goodwin, Project Engineer.

Concurrently, the wider industry was facing large material shortages and escalation issues. Through thorough planning, early procurement and teamwork, the project team mitigated relevant challenges to ensure materials were sourced and delivered per the project’s timeline.

The project was recognised at the recent Master Builder Association’s 2023 Southern Regions Excellence in Building Awards, with the Tumut Hospital Redevelopment winning two accolades — Commercial Projects over $40 Million and Commercial Builder of the Year (Southern Regions).

Images courtesy of Williams Images.

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