Healing in a healthy environment

Liverpool Medical Suite is a specialist practice comprising an Endocrine Surgeon and a Urological surgeon within Southwest Private Hospital in Sydney, Australia with design and fit out by Studio_P architects.

Ceilings with Troldtekt acoustic panels in healthcare buildings
Photo: Adam Powell

When designing medical projects, it is especially important to create a warm and inviting space which is comfortable for the user. This project is a good example of how to move far away from the traditional feel of a clinic. It is a well-designed facility that suits the needs of the medical specialists, their staff and their patients.

At the suite, the key products used were chosen to create warmth and to provide a natural feel. These include walnut ply joinery with matching walnut stain together with brass fixtures and fittings and leather upholstery. The chosen materials, with their varied textures and soft curves, help achieve an appealing and modern medical suite introducing both comfort and aesthetic values compared to what is usually a rigid and clinical atmosphere.

Warm timbers, brass fixtures and fittings, natural green ceramics, concrete and leather and a combination of woven and timber plank vinyl flooring all work together to create a modern symbiotic look which is durable, easy to clean and disinfect while being practical for everyone’s needs.

In addition, the built-in joinery in the waiting area and for patient beds, allows for more storage below and a seamless design without the need for additional free-standing furniture. The walnut Porta timber lining and soft green leather used within the joinery ties the spaces together.

Although there were two separate clients on this project with clear individual requirements for their consulting suites, a cohesive vision has created a comfortable, practical and aesthetic environment with enough privacy and acoustics. The important requirement of perfect acoustics was achieved using Troldtekt acoustic ceiling tiles. The wooden fibre of the ceiling tile, whilst adding texture and warmth, importantly takes away the commercial feel of a grid ceiling and inherently provides the required superior acoustic qualities.

One of the key challenges was being able to fit in the required needs of both clients into a tight area without it feeling cramped or uncomfortable. Also, it was important to ensure the project met the design brief of not looking and feeling too clinical while suiting the practical needs of the medical consultants.

One factor which helped was the ability to allow as much natural light into as much of the building as possible while retaining privacy. The two consulting rooms are the only areas that have windows and those look directly out onto another building. It was also important to create flexible spaces that allowed for dynamic changes when required.

Adding shutters to the consulting room windows brought in natural light retaining privacy for patients. To allow light to reach other areas, a clerestory translucent window was included above the consulting room to let light penetrate down the corridor and into the waiting areas.