John LeClerc Josephs

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John LeClerc Josephs, who is studying at The Curtin University of Technology, Bentley, Western Australia (Bachelor of Architecture, 4th Year), entered the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) with the following submission. For contact please email:

Western Australian Cancer Centre Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Perth, Western Australia


Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital is a large, progressive, fully accredited teaching hospital located on a 28 hectare medical campus adjacent to Kings Park in Nedlands, a scenic and central part of the city of Perth, Western Australia. The brief called for a new Western Australian Cancer Centre to be located on the west side of the existing hospital site. The addition would sit on existing car parking and green space and link internally to the existing hospital infrastructure. The brief called for a 12000 square metre development that encompassed a large number of clinic suites, offices, advanced medical technology equipment and rooms, social areas, waiting areas, and all required staff and patients services to run a cancer centre of world class caliber.


Ideology and Execution
Three main ideals were considered and applied to the design:

  1. To create quality architectural spaces in a hospital environment. Research into previous cancer centres revealed that brief requirements of space were often met in sacrifice of quality architectural spaces, such as those with natural light, ventilation and links to the outdoors – qualities proven beneficial to patient healthcare. In answer my design:
    1. Uses an exposed skeletal structural ceiling system between the tops of walls and floors to create horizontal lightwells for natural light into all staff and patient internal working spaces.
    2. Utilizes a central void space for natural light transmission, ventilation and the creation of unique internal views usually not experienced in central hospital spaces.
    3. The Ground Floor is lifted above the car park via a series of light columns on the face of the building to give the building a sense of structural lightness and added sensitivity to the site.
    4. The elevation of the floors via the skeletal structural ceiling adds an element of transparency to the building in elevation – not isolating external spaces surrounding the building.
  2. To understand the benefits of simple spatial design in a working hospital environment whilst using architectural techniques to break up the monotony of ‘long corridor and box’ arrangements. In answer my design:
    1. Shifted rooms in plan to break the line of the corridors and create negative space which could be utilized practically for storage or socially for waiting or interacting.
    2. Utilized the skeletal ceiling structure to shift the focal points of occupants away from the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ to the intricacy of the ceiling.
    3. Created suitable rooms with transparent walls and windows along the hallways – the creation of a meandering eye.
  3. To initiate a ‘green’ feel to the building through its relationship to the outside, use of natural light and use of materials that are practical for cleavability yet are distant from traditional ‘sterile’ aesthetics. In answer my design:
    1. Lifts the structure above the natural ground level to clear the site for green space.
    2. Utilizes a rigid rectangular structure that would cater for the required internal size but allow 50% of the site to be landscaped. To meet the brief’s spatial requirements of 12000 square metres, the structure would be 4 storeys high with a basement. The height was appropriate in the context of the site – matching the surrounding buildings whilst considering the impact on the neighbouring residential area.
    3. The creation of social void spaces, such as waiting rooms and cafes, with a strong connection to freed green spaces.

The Architects for Health
First Student Health Design Award
was sponsored by



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