The Bendigo Hospital project delivers world-class healthcare facilities across a 13-hectare precinct. References to the site’s local and regional history and ecology have helped deliver social, environmental and cultural benefits with a strong sense of place, for patients, staff, visitors and the community. The design was derived through extensive engagement with numerous stakeholders including hospital staff, local community groups and local government.
The landscape architectural design drivers – connection and kindness – foreground a legible structure, developing a walkable precinct with a clear hierarchy of streets and walkways that engage with the broader city, heritage buildings and topographical challenges. Canopy cover and green links provide a high-quality public realm, with a north-south civic axis creating an important, inviting through-site link. Providing choice helps to minimize stress in healthcare environments, so diversity of community, collaborative and private spaces was created across the precinct and throughout over 46 balconies, green roofs, roof decks, and courtyards (including 20 mental health courtyards).
An evidence-based design approach was used to provide access to nature and positive distractions, a sense of control and social support, and a focus on the importance of spaces for physical movement and exercise. A Biophilic Design approach was also adopted; incorporating ferns (fractal leaf structures provide beneficial psychological effects); and utilising natural and local materials, moving water and textured planting.
Recognising the region’s significant cultural heritage, the design team collaborated with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation through the ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative. Including an Indigenous courtyard, with a fire pit and planting to enable cultural practice and education, and an aboriginal garden incorporating diverse local indigenous planting and celebrating a valuable cultural artefact, a relocated scarred tree. Local Chinese history is celebrated in a dedicated garden, and site-specific public artworks from Bendigo Art Gallery and several artists, are integrated across the precinct.
Bendigo Hospital’s roofs combine to minimize the urban heat island effect and harvest more than 300kL of rainwater in this drought-prone region, supplying valuable landscape irrigation. Green infrastructure initiatives include water sensitive urban design, structural soils and increased biological diversity and habitat.
Landscape Architects: OCULUS
Architects: Silver Thomas Hanley with Bates Smart
Client: Lendlease, Exemplar Health & State Government of Victoria
Image Credits: as captioned above