This is a quirky project that come to our studio while we were working on another project at Alfred Health, one that gave us enormous satisfaction.
Patients who were to receive radiation treatment were confronted with a long neglected and overgrown sunken courtyard next to the waiting area and the treatment rooms, which was a terrible view when contemplating such serious issues.
The annual staff dry-July fundraiser was dedicated to improving this and became the largest single amount ever raised, such was the desire to do something positive for these patients. The brief to us was somewhat challenging – we want a garden with no plants! This was due to the lack of gardeners on staff, and so our approach was to bring nature in through the material selection, natural timbers, stone and a granite fountain.
Working with a hospital presented many challenges especially with infectious disease control and equity access, so the design process was very much staff hands on.
Retaining walls were designed using gabion baskets, Spotted Gum decking complemented and integrated with this, existing rusted seats were re powder coated and used and a single granite boulder fountain installed in the centre. To cover the existing concrete with its numerous service manholes and as well as to ramp up to existing glass doors we designed a ‘’lawn’’ using various bands of recycled rubber material predominantly in greens which ensured all the codes were met in terms of access. To shelter the now exposed large north facing glass windows we then designed a simple but graphic shaped pergola using timber battens, and then for screening to the rooms a film featuring a leaf motif which again introduces a further element related to nature.
This area has become hugely popular with both staff and patients as an area of relaxation and contemplation, an abundance of natural light now fills the waiting area and treatment rooms and those who are sitting inside now have an area to look out on which can only lift their spirits.
Location: Prahran, Melbourne Australia