Chow:Hill team celebrates a decade of collaboration as Christchurch Hospital Waipapa is recognised with an award for Public Architecture at the Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects Canterbury Architecture Awards.
Christchurch Hospital Waipapa (formerly known as Acute Services Building) was conceived to address significant projected growth in demand for clinical services and inadequate hospital facilities. This month, New Zealand’s largest and most resilient public hospital project was recognised with an award for Public Architecture at the Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects Canterbury Architecture Awards and a Gold Award for Health Design at the Commercial Property Awards, organised by the Master Builders Association.
A Decade of Collaboration and Co-design
Following work in 2010/11 on master planning and business case development for the $670m redevelopment of Christchurch and Burwood Hospitals, Chow:Hill, with Warren and Mahoney and Thinc Health, were fortunate to be appointed as lead consultants for Christchurch Hospital Waipapa in 2013.
The overall goal for Waipapa was to deliver increased health service resilience with a base-isolated, services-independent, post-disaster facility for Canterbury. “We needed to provide capacity for future growth in clinical demand, especially for acute inpatients, by replacing aged, damaged, and inappropriate facilities with modern, state-of-the-art buildings,” explains Chow:Hill director Darryl Carey.
“Following the Canterbury earthquakes, we were clear that Waipapa needed to be the first of a new generation of resilient hospitals and was a major step in the comprehensive hospital site master plan for Christchurch Hospital.”
Resilient Public Hospital Project
Over the following decade, Christchurch Hospital Waipapa became New Zealand’s largest and most resilient public hospital project. The 62,000m² base-isolated Importance Level 4 acute services building covers 12 storeys and has been designed and constructed to remain fully operational immediately post-disaster.
To achieve this, the hospital has a base-isolated steel frame structure, seismic design of fit-out, services and equipment for ‘low damage’, increased isolation capacity to facilitate safe pandemic response, integrated passive fire protection details, modular ward layout enabling adaptation of different bedroom options, and a rooftop helipad for direct access from helicopter to ED/ICU.
Post-disaster planning was also incorporated into the design to allow Waipapa to operate as an ‘island’ for up to three days during an emergency response.
Following the Canterbury earthquakes, we were clear that Waipapa needed to be the first of a new generation of resilient hospitals and was a major step in the comprehensive hospital site master plan for Christchurch Hospital.
Co-design for a Healing Environment
While improved resilience and future-proofing were central to the project, Carey and Chow:Hill’s wider health design team also focused on a co-design process to create a healing environment where all aspects of wellbeing were considered.
The co-design approach included a clinician-led process to pilot key layouts and design elements, a modular approach to health planning and fit-out, a new ‘linear multi-bed’ configuration custom-designed to deliver key clinical principles (in particular nursing ‘line of sight’ to patients), primary perimeter structure to enable large clear spans and minimal internal structure, and a clustering of services to support high levels of future adaptability.
Connection to the surrounding environment and community was also a key design focus. Public outdoor spaces provide access through the site, carvings and pounamu are incorporated into Waipapa’s interior design, large windows help to achieve a ‘hospital in the park, park in the hospital’ concept, and site signage and wayfinding access ensures the hospital is seamlessly integrated with neighbouring Hagley Park.
The project also funded 100 new trees and the reinstatement of over 2,000 displaced daffodil bulbs in Hagley Park.
Award-winning Sustainable Design
In addition to providing significant contributions to resilience and clinical capacity for the Canterbury community, Waipapa’s sustainable design features include a highly efficient façade with double-glazing for improved isolation, a new energy centre to replace coal boilers, air handling systems to economically filter and recirculate air, and low energy LED fittings.
In recognising Waipapa with an award for Public Architecture at the Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects Canterbury Architecture Awards, 2021, the NZIA award jury noted: “The new acute services building annexed to Christchurch Hospital reinvents the notion of a hospital space. Gone are disorientating corridors and inwardly focused rooms - here, the hallways are wide and generously connected to views across Hagley Park, and patient beds are oriented towards large picture windows. This sense of light and air enlivens treatment spaces, invigorates work spaces and contributes to this facility’s mission to place wellbeing at its core. Visitor and family areas and a multi-denominational space provide a caring sanctuary at the heart of this resilient and future-proofed new hospital wing.”
The design and construction of Waipapa is the culmination of more than a decade of collaboration between Chow:Hill, Warren and Mahoney and Thinc Health, known collectively as Katoa Health Design, alongside a huge team of clients, consultants and contractors.
The result of this collaborative healthcare design is a next-generation hospital that places New Zealand’s resilient health infrastructure on the global stage.
May 26, 2021