Kids Had Say in Hospital Design

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Originally published in The West Australian on May 22nd

Image by Shannon McGrath


This week Lisa Holland-McNair reviews the Perth Children’s Hospital entry into the WA Architecture Awards 2019 and finds a design that promotes healing.

Designed from the perspective of a child, Perth Children’s Hospital uses colour and whimsy to reduce anxiety of patients and their families as well as reflect the adjacent Kings Park bushland.

Work began on the paediatric tertiary hospital in 2011 with a collaboration between JCY Architects and Urban Designs, Cox Architecture and Billard Leece Partnership with HKS Inc, along with builder John Holland.

Cox Architecture design director Fernando Faugno said each contributor had brought their own expertise to the project which was complemented by extensive consultation with key stakeholders.

“The starting point was really speaking to the children in Princess Margaret Hospital who told us what they liked and didn’t like about the old hospital and their ideas about what would make a great new hospital,” Mr Faugno said.

“Immediately two common threads emerged; allowing as much natural light as possible to enter the building and there being lots of connections to the surrounding landscape.

“Research evidence has shown that if patients can access both of these things it speeds up the healing time.”

Using Kings Park as inspiration, the arrangement of the building references the form of stem and petal, while internally wildflowers are referenced through a sparing but deliberate use of colour.

“Keeping in mind the wellbeing of patients, we use colour in the hospital to both surprise and distract,” Mr Faugno said. “For those arriving at night, the illuminated façade and artwork The Fizz instantly identifies the hospital and creates a visual wonderland for everyone driving past.”

The hospital opened in May last year, several years later than planning, but, according to Mr Faugno, this is no way compromised the architecture and design.

“What we now have is a uniquely West Australian facility that is a real benchmark – an international exemplar – representing the very best in its class around children’s health,” he said.

As well as world-class inpatient and out-patient care, the hospital provides significant integrated research and education facilities for medical professionals.

“We had a brief from the State Government and we used that to then gather feedback from the people who would be using the facilities – the doctors, nurses, surgeons, researchers – to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone,” Mr Faugno said. The winner will be announced on June 28.


Perth Children’s Hospital was the recipient of the following awards at the 2019 Australian Interior design Awards:

  • Commendation Award, Public Design
  • Best of State (WA), Commercial Design

To read more on Perth Children’s Hospital, click here.