HDR Delivering an Integrated Healthcare Precinct for Westmead


Tuesday, 22 August, 2017


HDR design and deliver more health, research and training facilities than any other architectural firm in the world.

They are recognised globally for creating patient-focused environments of wellness with optimum clinical efficiencies. With more than 9,500 design professionals employed in over 200 locations across the world, HDR’s depth of experience and wealth of knowledge ensure they are at the forefront of cutting-edge design and thinking. They are consistently ranked highly on International Design Rankings, including Number 1 for Healthcare Design on the Building Design “World Architecture 100” in 2016.

The Sydney studio is known and lauded for designing some of Australia’s leading health and education facilities including the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Liverpool Hospital, the multi-award winning Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and, currently, the Westmead Health Precinct Redevelopment.

Westmead Precinct

The Westmead region has developed significantly over time and evolved into an innovative, contemporary and integrated healthcare Precinct with one of the largest concentrations of biomedical, scientific and healthcare focused minds in Australia. As Principal Architects on the entire Westmead Precinct Redevelopment project, HDR have played a major role in transforming the Westmead campus through providing masterplanning, architectural design and clinical planning services. HDR are currently completing the Design Development and Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) Phase of Stage 1 which sees a capital investment of over $900 million in new hospital buildings, infrastructure, car parking and refurbishment works.

HDR are working with the Westmead Precinct Partners to create a vision for Westmead as a workable, liveable and accessible health city focused on integrated healthcare, teaching and research. It will promote patient, carer and staff wellbeing and community engagement, while also attracting staff, students, residents, researchers and visitors from across the globe. The Westmead Precinct Partners who make up the site include: four major hospitals – The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), the Westmead Hospital (WH), Cumberland Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital; three research facilities – Westmead Research Hub, Children’s Medical Research Institute, and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research; two major universities – Western Sydney University and The University of Sydney Clinical Schools; Ronald McDonald House at Westmead; and Pathology West – ICPMR Westmead.

Ronald Hicks, HDR Director of Health Australia, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Westmead Precinct Partners to create a global centre of excellence for healthcare, education and research, and improved healthcare facilities for the Western Sydney community.”


HDR have undertaken several masterplan studies that have gone on to inform the growth and transformation of the Westmead Precinct. In late 2015, together with MSJ Architects and Johnstaff Projects, HDR undertook a masterplan study for the CHW which set the framework for the growth of children’s services in the Westmead Precinct as well as opportunities for integration and development of synergies between the Precinct Partners. The end result supported the development of an integrated services zone by co-locating selected shared services within a new Central Acute Services Building (CASB). This offered the potential to improve patient outcomes through increased sharing of staff and services and greater levels of collaboration across the Precinct.

The masterplan also accounted for the potential need for major infrastructure and urban expansion for public transport with the announcement of a new public light rail link. Due to extend from Westmead Train Station along Hawkesbury Road and Hainsworth Street through Parramatta Parklands, the announcement raised concerns that this could impact on the management of patient flows into the hospital. In response, the masterplan improved patient access to services within the Precinct by providing distinct and dedicated entry points, including a specific Ambulance entrance. A new Emergency Precinct that co-located and encouraged sharing of services between Precinct Partners, and a new CHW Clinical Services Building was also included.

The masterplan supported CHW in retaining its focus on the health of children, strengthened integration and collaboration between the CHW, WH, and with other Precinct Partners, and set a framework for the design of a Precinct that will become one of the largest health, education and research centres in the world.

Architectural Design

HDR have now completed Schematic Design and are currently undertaking Design Development for Stage 1 of the Westmead Redevelopment project, the main elements of which are CASB Stage 1, the Innovation Centre, and the new landscaped Entry Plaza. Stage 1 is central to the Westmead Precinct as it enables and facilitates optimised integration between CHW, WH and Education, Training and Research (ETR) activities. Responding to the progressive creation and sprawling nature of the existing Precinct, the architectural intent for the Westmead Redevelopment is the creation of a more highly integrated Precinct with respect to both the practical utility, and the visual impact of new works. The quality of the design for the newly created buildings - the CASB, Innovation Centre and Plaza development - will express the significance and importance of the Westmead campus as a landmark, world-class health precinct. At the same time, it will support the ongoing mission for the Westmead Precinct to deliver healthcare of the highest quality while remaining accessible and responsive to its local community.

Central Acute Services Building (CASB)

Born from the masterplan mentioned above, CASB is located between the existing WH and the CHW to optimise precinct integration and offer synergy opportunities for sharing of high-end acute clinical services, equipment and other resources. The CASB is a 13-storey vertically stacked podium and tower solution that provides physical linkages between the two facilities. It includes two new emergency departments, satellite and acute medical imaging services, a new day surgery unit and operating/interventional suite, central sterilising services department, pharmacy satellite, cardiac comprehensive care centre, surgical integrated practice units, University of Sydney ETR area, and a helipad. Shelled spaces on several levels will enable non-disruptive and logical future expansion – a key driver in the development of the design concept.

The Innovation Centre

The Innovation Centre is an identity building at the heart of the Precinct, designed to support multi-disciplinary approaches to solving complex healthcare and associated problems and to provide the opportunity for a future biobank repository and expanded ETR activities. With a highly flexible and adaptable plan, the centre will be an environment that stimulates research and development, promotes interaction and knowledge sharing, and fosters creative and strategic thinking. The design has been inspired and informed by Yerrenin – an indigenous term for meeting. It is designed to encourage collaboration, including “bump spaces” where staff naturally interact and share ideas through the day, exhibition space, large meeting environments, social spaces and a New Ways of Working space.

Entry Plaza

The new landscaped Entry Plaza will be a major public design urban gesture that will provide significant amenity for visitors, staff and the public to enjoy. Interfacing with redesigned public transport networks, the Plaza will act as both a pragmatic zone for drop-off and pedestrian egress to the main entries, and a calming zone with planting and seating for contemplation and reflection. Car parking spaces, both at-grade and underground, is also a major feature of the entry zone to the Precinct. The Plaza will provide a significant contribution to the urban landscape, improving the public domain by providing green space and a sense of ‘place’. It will define the urban edge and create an identity entry to the Precinct.

The completed project will deliver clinical improvements, futureproofed planning, optimised opportunities for ETR, and improved service integration at the heart of the health campus. As some of the largest healthcare, education and research providers in Australia, the Westmead Precinct Partners are uniquely placed to create a global centre of excellence in integrated healthcare, research and clinical education.

For more information visit www.hdrinc.com.au or Tel: 02 9956 2666.

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