- fmd architects p/l
The project is a renovation & extension the existing consulting rooms for Knox Orthopaedic Group, adjacent to Knox hospital.
The programme developed includes consulting rooms for the surgeons, with a communal hot desk touch down area for post consultation work. The administration office accommodates the support staff and a large kitchen and outdoor deck allows the team to come together for lunch and post work get togethers. The reception area plays a dual role of waiting area as well as a workshop space for group mindfulness classes, which are an important component of the recovery process for the patients.
A key consideration was to increase access to natural light and ventilation and develop a visual connection to the new garden areas from the workspaces. What were originally generally internalised spaces with no connection to the exterior have now become light filled and naturally ventilated spaces, with a significant reduction on the reliance for artificial light and ventilation, and happier and healthier staff.
The design is highly sculptural while addressing the pragmatic requirements of the brief. In addition , the benefits of increased natural amenity have resulted in a greater sense of wellbeing by the staff and reduced services costs.
Orthopaedics and architecture have a symbiotic relationship. The tools, process and the language of the orthopaedic surgeon is aligned with the ways of the carpenter. There are also parallels between architectural design and the design of prosthetics and surgical techniques, with 3d modelling and printing a common practice in their R&D processes.
Our design approach was to emphasise the parallels between the disciplines in the built form. The layered façade references the tools, prosthetics and the human frame.
The design creates interplay between the 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional qualities of the X-ray, another essential analytical tool of the surgeon. The façade emphasises the thinness of an X-ray sheet, while developing a depth through layering film, steel and recycled plastic forms. As it is backlit by the interior, the façade mimics the visual qualities of the X-ray on a lightbox.
A priority in the planning of the extension was to allow the spaces to be connected to the exterior spaces visually and physically, thus reducing the reliance on artificial light and mechanical ventilation. Not only has this reduced energy costs, but improved the natural amenity along with the well being of the users. LED and fluroescent lights were installed throughout to reduce energy costs further. The fins and canopies on the north facade have been designed to filter the natural light and provide fullshade from the summer sun. Existing windows were replaced with double glazing along with all new windows being Low E doubled glazed. In terms of material selection, the exterior cladding of the new facade is made from recycled plastic bags, and the acoustic cladding internally is recycled PET bottles. The profiled plastic
cutouts to the facade were setout to ensure minimal wastage of the product. The reception desk design and waiting seat were also cut from the same sheet of ply to ensure the entire sheet was used. All paints were low VOC, local FSC timbers and FSC certified plywood used, and green star rated wool carpet (locally manufactured), laminates and marmoleum. Water tanks have been installed to water the new native gardens and solar roof panels currently being installed.