International Meeting Australia 10th May 2012

A full-house for the Architects for Health’s International meeting on the 10th May at the RIBA.

With over 80 attendees, including 18 guests from the Antipodean Health study tour, AfH hosted an enlightening evening of presentations and lively debate focussing on Healthcare planning and design in Australia.

The evening started with a “word from our sponsors”, the Copper Development Association. They provided an update and some extremely encouraging evidence, through clinical trials, of the beneficial effects of copper in relation to infection control. Any product which can boast a 75% reduction in HAI through the introduction of just 6 copper components has got to be worthy of further research. Interestingly, with no examples of this in practice within the UK or Australia, there’s a real opportunity for learning from this global best practice and being one of the first to use copper “touch surfaces” components within the UK and Australia. http://www.antimicrobialcopper.com/media/320507/afh-antimicrobial-copper-10may2012.pdf

Andy Black (Andy Black CV), of Durrow Consulting, provided an illuminating overview of the Royal Adelaide Hospital briefing process, comparing the two approaches of ‘centralised’ and ‘distributed’, to designing a University Hospital for the future. Andy emphasised the importance of the civic status and presence of a University Hospital, as one which could re-invigorate and re-generate it’s host city. Andy Black presentation.

Dr Keith Joe, (Keith Joe CV) of the Australian Centre for Health Innovation, presented a fresh perspective of healthcare design, through the eyes of a practising Health professional specialising in Trauma medicine. Keith shared his experience and his ideas for his ED, which reflected his vision of using “the most advanced IT systems and best recent thinking”, resulting in the Royal Melbourne Hospital ED being totally electronic. Keith shared his view on the latest IT systems and technologies, challenging all of us present to “design for mission control in all your Hospitals”. Dr Keith Joe presentation.

Jane Carthey, (Jane Carthey CV) of the Australian Health Design Council, shared with us her work at Rice Daubney Architecture, including the inspirational Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Centre at the Royal Prince Albert Hospital in Sydney. Jane told the story of Chris O’Brien’s experience, similar to that of Maggie Jencks, with a comparable “humane” response to creating a facility to treat the whole person. Jane Carthey presentation.

Ruari Reeves, (Ruairi Reeves CV) Associate MAAP, presented the story of the New Glenside Health facilities in Adelaide, highlighting the benefit of the “enablement stage” where a new model of care could be tested. This new 129 bed mental health facility, quietly understates it’s “big idea” through modest single storey architecture. The re-interpretation of the South Australia vernacular architecture with a combination of verandas and gardens provides a uniquely local response whilst delivering a potentially global solution for large scale mental health facilities. Ruairi Reeves presentation.

Jeff Menkens and Brendan Kelly, (Jeff Menkens & Brenden Kelly CV) Principals at Hassell’s Perth Studio, concluded the presentations with a detailed design presentation of the 800 bed Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia. Whilst absorbing the scale of the scheme across the equivalent of four city blocks, the team managed to retain the original concept of reflecting the bush-land context. It was refreshing to hear how the façade treatment had been inspired by a particular native flower, responding to the specific solar conditions of this location. Brenden Kelly and Jeff Menkens presentation copy.

John Cooper summarised the evening’s presentations as a “embodying synergies across context, master-planning, civic importance and local sensitivity,  providing a uniquely Australian contribution to the Global debate on Healthcare design”

Lastly we would like to thank our guests, who having seen 14 healthcare facilities in 10 days across the Netherlands, Norway and England, managed to find time (and the energy) to participate in such an enjoyable and informative evening.

RCJ 14.05.12

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