Flexible and adaptable hospitals – Australian case studies

2017-07-24T14:00:51Z (GMT) by J. Carthey Vivien Chow
In 2009, a literature review uncovered different international approaches to achieving flexible and adaptable health facilities and concluded by recommending further research focussing on Australian hospitals to identify key site issues, design features, and major upgrades that have influenced longer term responses to changing modes of service delivery and other demands in local settings. Responding to these recommendations, this second stage research was conducted by reviewing further relevant literature and project documentation for five case studies, visiting and documenting key adaptability features of each case study facility and consulting with health facility personnel where available. Findings include that longer-term flexibility is assisted by: generous site area, lower rise hospital buildings along a horizontal circulation spine (‗hospital street‘), surplus building services capacity facilitating easy expansion/alteration, and a consistent workable planning grid supporting a range of standardised room sizes. Future investigation should consider the impact of high land values on site utilisation especially in terms of future proofing multi-storey buildings, and how to assist health clients decide when ‗enough‘ flexibility has been provided.