Australian Clinic Design Bridges Health, Well-Being
Caboolture GP Super Clinic’s green atrium is designed as a departure from institutional healthcare settings by incorporating features such as live plantings and fish ponds—features to help foster a feeling of healing and respite for patients, clinic staff, and community members.
To connect the clinic with its community, the exterior features a multicolored screen that slides open, inviting visitors into the clinic’s internal green courtyard.
Cubby play spaces for children are separate from the main waiting area and are clad in an American oak wood veneer and lined with a flexible floor vinyl that conforms to the curved shapes.
The columns have round planters at the bottom and hold a mix of plants with vibrant colors and textural variations to create visual interest.
Caboolture GP Super Clinic, which opened in October 2015 in Caboolture, Queensland, Australia, supports a multidisciplinary and integrated approach to health, housing general practice, medical services, and a fitness center under one roof. Designers at Wilson Architects (Spring Hill, Queensland, Australia) fostered that effort via salutogenic design, or the creation of spaces that support health and well-being. “There’s a very strong link between feeling good and being well,” says David Hooper, executive director at Caboolture GP Super Clinic. “We’re focused on the system of the wellness concept.”
To achieve that concept, the two-story, $8 million facility is arranged with clinic spaces surrounding a glass-walled, double-height internal courtyard that’s lush with vertical gardens, large planters, and fish ponds. The clinic’s internal waiting areas and primary circulation pathways have views to the 3,767-square-foot courtyard space, which serves as an organizing element for wayfinding while providing a landscaped space with access to nature, light, and activity. “The design intent was to create a facility that’s easy to navigate and not disorienting [by establishing] strong visual connections and avoiding corridors where there’s no connection between interior and exterior,” says Brent Hardcastle, associate and project architect at Wilson Architects.
Columns are designed to support vertical gardens and are topped with a skylight to encourage the plantings to grow, while bringing additional light into the space. “The courtyard planting was selected to provide an appropriate mix of plants with vibrant colors and textural variations to create visual interest,” Hardcastle says. A café and seating areas inside the setting help encourage patients and staff members, as well as residents, to enjoy the space.
The wellness focus extends into clinical space, too, with additional landscaped columns in some waiting areas. To provide positive distractions for families waiting for pediatric appointments, there’s a separate play and waiting space that features “cubby holes” in the walls where kids can climb around or hang out. “The spaces are conceived for human interaction, promoting concepts of health and well-being,” Hardcastle says.