Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital, Queenstown
The brief was to deliver a facility that would challenge the status quo of a hospital building – its design, setting, atmosphere and the level of patient comfort.
The Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital reaches beyond its primary function as a healthcare facility and celebrates the hospitality of the Otago people. The design takes inspiration from the local environment including the nearby Kawarau River – its rejuvenating waters invoking the healing power of nature.
Offering a homely feel for post-surgery recovery, the building connects patients with the community and environment, helping them regain vitality and strength. The reception area has the ambience of a hotel lobby, with curved surfaces and warm materials used to help reduce patient anxiety.
The hospital aims to create an environment where wellness is the foundation of the patient experience. It has been designed to set a new benchmark for energy use in New Zealand hospitals (both public and private). Early data suggests the facility is on target to achieve the lowest carbon emissions of any of the existing Southern Cross hospitals with data collection presently underway to support Toitū net carbonzero benchmarking and reporting.
The interior maximises the use of natural light and the quality of air indoors without compromising the strict infection prevention and control standards expected of a surgical facility. All patient-occupied spaces, including waiting, theatres, recovery spaces, nurse stations, ward rooms and main reception have access to natural daylight. Patients can choose to utilise natural ventilation in ward rooms while building controls maximise the utility of natural ventilation in the public waiting area.
The surgical block has a pre-cast concrete panel façade, taking cues from the river rocks and communicates the professional function of the spaces behind. The timber-clad ward wing and staff areas soften the building form and add a sense of warmth often associated with smaller scale, residential architecture. External fins provide both privacy and solar control to the full height windows overlooking the plaza and the hills beyond. The entry canopy and upper-level concealing the plant room are finished with multi-layered render system over lightweight wall framing, to reduce the structural weight and overall construction cost, while avoiding the flat and artificial appearance of pre-finished cladding systems.