The new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) featured in the November 2018 issue of Indesign, focussing on healthcare and wellbeing. Designed by DesignInc with STH Health Architecture (STH), RAH is part of the largest health and research precinct in the southern hemisphere, and is South Australia’s greenest hospital. It is designed for efficiency and wellbeing, improving the healthcare experience and achieving better patient outcomes.
Indesign Special Edition Editor, Tracey Ingram, explored the ways in which designers are promoting and supporting wellbeing in healthcare, aged care, fitness and personal wellness environments. Tracey’s story “Human vs. Nature” discussed the ways in two architectural firms – DesignInc and Design Group Italia (DGI) – are drawing on biophilia and technology, two seemingly contradictory ideas, for the benefit of healthcare and wellbeing.
“To create the most soothing wellness and healthcare experiences, designers are delving into biophilia: access to and imitation of nature, which is purported to reduce stress and aid recuperation. But as technology becomes an increasingly important factor in today’s spaces, how can these two seemingly opposite forces – one physically natural, the other synthetically digital – find harmony?” Tracey wrote. She spoke with DesignInc Director Richard Does about RAH and to DGI Chief Creative Officer Sigurdur Thorsteinsson about The Retreat Hotel in Iceland.
“Biophilic design is important for achieving patient wellbeing. A healthy environment assists in a faster recovery,” Richard told Tracey. He believes the need for biophilic design will only increase as cities become denser and that it’s important for architecture to bring the landscape into building interiors, as it does at RAH. “RAH is conceptualised as a park within a hospital. This theme of nature permeates every aspect of design throughout the hospital and its landscape, be it material, pattern, image or form,” Richard said.
The architecture of RAH prioritises views, fresh air, privacy and efficiency, which have all been proven to contribute to faster healing. Each patient bedroom is designed to create a healing environment; connections to landscaped courtyards contribute to healthy minds and bodies; and the layout is configured to optimise patient journey times and treatment. RAH also incorporates state-of-the-art technology, and while some technology is conspicuous, other technology is invisible to the public eye. “It’s important for designers to visually interpret biophilia in the application of shape, texture and sunlight,” Richard said.
The feature in the healthcare and wellbeing issue of Indesign magazine is fitting for DesignInc given our commitment to supporting our team members’ wellbeing, inside and outside of the office. In March 2018, we formally launched the DesignInc Sydney Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle Program, which recognises there are multiple factors that contribute to an individual’s wellbeing at work. The program promotes physical activity, healthy eating, balanced lifestyle, financial security and professional development and our teams’ response has been exceptionally positive as they benefit from healthy snacking, yoga classes and flexible working arrangements.