Demand for healthcare in Australia is increasing as a result of an ageing society, population growth and rises in lifestyle-related diseases. The newly opened Gandel Wing at Cabrini Malvern will benefit patients for decades to come with high-level and quality services for people in need.
The building features the latest in cutting-edge design, urban amenity and modern technology to accommodate patients in the specialty areas of cancer, cardiac, maternity, geriatric care, emergency and infectious diseases.
It is an exciting new chapter for the health service, with more than 1800 babies born every year and 23 000 patients treated in the emergency department.
Aurecon was engaged as the structural and civil engineer and project manager to deliver a building in line with the architectural intent, reminiscent of an elegant hotel. Designing with the end user in mind, the design provides functional layout for the curing of illness and treating of sickness and injury, but also thinks of patient and staff comfort and well-being.
Every aspect of the design was scrutinised from the perspective of the patient, rather than solely from the requirements of the processes or equipment.
The new wing has a tranquil and comfortable maternity ward for parents to welcome their babies into the world, all complete with double beds and private ensuites. The structure has been optimised to afford natural light and views towards nature from each room.
Each floor comprises of long spans to reduce the number of columns – a major structural engineering achievement – so that spaces can be maximised and future changes in layout accommodated. This was achieved with the use of efficient post tensioned slabs and deep transfer beams to connect the new wing with the original hospital building. An 8-metre long link bridge joins the old with the new at four of the seven floors.
The natural slatted terracotta facade complements the adjacent 1960s brickwork of the original hospital, uniting the site as a harmonious health campus.
The presence of the existing adjacent hospital wings, as well as major road and tramways, led to the design of a bespoke shoring system for the construction of the four-storey basement. A detailed deflection and settlement study were undertaken to ensure that the engineering design minimised lateral movement impacts on the surrounding infrastructure.
The inclusion of radiotherapy bunkers in the basement completes an integrated cancer care model and improves the patient experience – allowing patients to remain on-site for their entire treatment. This was a difficult structural challenge, solved with the construction of radiation-resistant concrete walls up to 2.3-metres thick, and with a 230-millimetre solid steel plate installed into the bunker’s roof structure.
The relocation of the existing basement plant room (which was previously located in the original Gandel Wing location) onto an existing suspended carpark slab was also an engineering challenge. Using composite carbon fibre strips and a new structural topping screed, the carpark slab in one of the adjacent buildings was strengthened to support the increased weight of the relocated plant equipment.
The choice of post tensioned flat slab type construction utilising low profile steel decking, led to flat soffits and simple formwork. This meant that the floor plates were quick to construct with quick cycle times and the building services were quick and easy to erect.
Precast concrete elements were used to reduce the volume of formwork required to construct each level.
A modern, contemporary, patient-centred environment has been created to meet the growing needs of communities. The Cabrini Gandel Wing reimagines clinical and sterile hospital designs into spaces for well-being, comfort and healing. It allows the health service to continue to provide the best possible care for patients, and their families, well into the future.
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