Children's hospital has vibrant facade and tree-inspired layout

Hospital by Lyons and Conrad Gargett features a vibrant facade and a tree-inspired layout

Huge green and purple fins shade the glass facades of this children's hospital in Brisbane, designed to match the colouring of native Bougainvillea plants (+ slideshow).

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

Architecture firms Lyons and Conrad Gargett describe the design concept for the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital as "the idea of a living tree", with plant-inspired cladding, wildlife-themed artworks and a network of spaces based on trunks and branches.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

Keen to avoid the conventional model of podium and tower, the architects designed a 12-storey building featuring two generous atriums, numerous double-height spaces, and a series of roof terraces, developed through workshops with the hospital's users and stakeholders.

Lady-Cilento-Childrens-Hospital-by-Lyons_dezeen_SQ02

"Design work began with research into the genealogy and typology of the contemporary hospital," said Lyons, whose past projects include a medical school in Tasmania and a scale-covered university building in Melbourne.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

"We studied hospitals from the 1980s through to the present day and saw these as being largely functionally driven and medico-centric in their planning", the studio told Dezeen.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

"The Queensland project was an opportunity to contest these prevailing paradigms; to radically rethink both the care model and the way in which the building might contribute to the city as a civic marker and as a touchstone for the Brisbane community".

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

The two atriums, thought of as the tree trunks, help visitors and staff to easily navigate the paediatric facility. These connect up with the various double-height department spaces – the branches – that extend beyond the facade to form balconies.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

"The branch spaces extend beyond the street lines to form a series of framing portals and external balconies where users can view the city," said Lyons.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

"Each branch is oriented toward a key landmark in the surrounding city – to the high rise buildings of central Brisbane, to the adjacent parklands, to the distant mountains and to the Brisbane River."

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

The green and purple fins shade the building's glazed exterior from direct sunlight, while the recessed ground-level walls are fronted by zigzagging brown columns, reminiscent of logs.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

The same colour palette continues through the interior, where wall imagery and sculptures feature parrots, butterflies, beetles and insects. Lyons thought these would provide engaging distractions for the hospital's youngest patients.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

Patios and gardens cover the building's roof, offering patients a place for recreation – an integral part of many rehabilitation programs.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons

Photography is by Dianna Snape.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons
Masterplan – click for larger image
Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons
Level two floor plan – click for larger image
Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons
West elevation – click for larger image
Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons
North elevation – click for larger image
Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by Lyons
South elevation – click for larger image