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“It helps control infection spread, it reduces patients’ fall risk and it has
even been proven to reduce staff errors. It also means patients feel more
comfortable bringing relatives in and letting them help with the care giving.”
Finally, landscaping is vital in de-institutionalising the institution. “The
outdoor environment can be an important part of patient recovery,” says
Morag, “but it’s also important as a de-stressing factor for staff and visitors.”
SHOWCASING WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Successful institutional buildings don’t just meet the needs of people using
them, they also play a part in showcasing a community’s values and culture.
“Institutional design is significant in showcasing WA, with many built
environments reflecting the diverse climate, colours, materials and landscape,”
says John Crabtree. “A successful institutional building responds to the needs of
the user and community, and contributes to the urban environment.”
James Christou agrees. “The power of institutional buildings to inform, set
and reflect identities should never be underestimated, nor should it be ignored
or exploited. When we design, it is for our client, but also the community.”
In institutional architecture, consultation is crucial. “As the majority of
institutional buildings are purpose-built, the planning, brief development
and consultation process is integral to the success of the facility,” says John.
Input needs to be gained from clients, the community and from users and
staff. “It is an integrated approach to design that allows us to listen and fully
understand not only tangible requirements but also social requirements on a
more personal level,” says James. “It is an inclusive, collaborative approach to
design. The key technique is to open communication with all involved in the
institution, from the client to facilities managers to end users.”
According to Edwin Bollig, the essence of all good design is to develop an
understanding of the client’s needs and ethos. “This is the starting point to
create the essence of the design that reflects the functional and aspirational
aspects of the institution. All institutions have specific requirements and
developing an understanding of these is crucial to their success,” he says.
DESIGNING FOR FUTURE FLEXIBILITY
Institutional buildings must be able to change and adapt. Inflexible floorplans
and inefficient facades won’t stand the test of time: a successful institution
remains adaptable and flexible over a long life, and can easily be extended.
“Societies are growing at a faster rate than ever, and our institutions reflect
this and the increased demands for flexibility and ease of use,” says Edwin.
Anni Macbeth, international futurist at Annimac Consultants, agrees: “As
the rate of change accelerates exponentially over the next 25 years, designing
for the future becomes a challenge of designing for the unknown. Future
trends that are known include the rising demand by communities for a
sustainable planet and people-friendly built environment.”
A flexible building design takes into account fast-moving technology.
According to Morag Lee, this has been key at the Fiona Stanley Hospital.
“The hospital has been future-proofed for anticipated demographic and
epidemiological trends, but it also has to be able to react to changing
healthcare protocols and emerging technologies.”
“Societies are growing at a
faster rate than ever, and our
institutions reflect this and the
increased demands for flexibility
and ease of use” Edwin Bollig, Bollig Design
TOP The deFiddesign for the Howard Solomon Freemasons facility promotes a sense of light and
wellbeing. ABOVE The interior of Curtin University Stadium, as conceived by Christou Design Group,
incorporates environmentally friendly strategies including passive solar design.
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