Robert Galati

Robert Galati, who is currently studying at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, entered the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) with the following submission. For contact please email:

Renal Dialysis Unit, Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney, Australia


The design proposal is to be for a boutique style renal dialysis unit with site constraints in the east of Sydney, in the highly populated and densely urban region of Oxford Street in Paddington.

The renal dialysis unit is to comprise of five dialysis chairs to support outpatients with acute renal failure. These patients will be able to occupy the renal unit within the space which they endure a continuum of care for people with a chronic illness made up of diverse interrelated events.

The services provided for the outpatients are to include special consultation, for renal referrals, pre dialysis service, transplant co ordination and support and outreach clinics.

The site is currently occupied by an existing 3 storey above street concrete frame building which is to be retained and manipulated to facilitate the renal dialysis unit. The surroundings to the site are a BarPub adjacent to the east and a bookshop, west adjacent to the site. This enables only two exposed facades, one facing the highly populated Oxford Street and another facing Iona Lane.

The two street frontages have two very different characteristics, with Oxford Street being a highly popular shopping district with people constantly walking along its footpaths, while Iona Lane has a very residential sense to it being a tree lined street with residential on to the streetscape.

The three storey above street level building plus below ground basement is to be occupied by one floor (of any choice) by the renal unit and the remaining two floors are a flexible design with the choice of occupation dependant on the design scheme. The basement is to remain as a parking area to accommodate for the renal unit and the various uses applied to the remaining floors.


The design intention which was motivated by research into health care facilities was for renal unit is not to have the appearance or appeal of a hospital, yet to appear more like a tranquil space to be positioned. with the use of relaxing more natural environments.

The building has been entirely devoted to the renal industry, with the ground floor consisting of a renal resource centre, the first floor occupying the office for Renal Australia, and the third floor resides the Renal Dialysis Unit.

The intention to place the renal Dialysis unit on the top floor is to make maximized use of the sunlight by creating internal and external courtyards. This will create an oasis on top of the building where patients can retreat to in-between treatments or for family members or friends who are with the patients for them to get some fresh air whilst the treatment is being partaken.

Internal and external courtyards which have been naturally landscaped to create an interesting and distracting outlook which will take the patients mind off their treatments. and allow them to feel at ease whilst they receive treatment.

The internal light well allows the opportunity for the natural sunlight to be utilized and by creating a more transparent facade allowing the opportunity for a greater space for the patients visiting the clinic.

The use of the facade treatments on both Oxford street and Iona Lane have been selected to create a individual building, while remaining harmonious to the streetscape. The use of the heavy materials for the column surrounds allows the skeleton of the building to be expressed. The timber slats allow a skin like veil to cover the glazing treatment which permits the busy Oxford Street to filter into the building, whilst the internals of the building are filtering onto the surrounds.

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


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