Russell Yelland

Gawler Health Service Renal Unit

Completed: 2016
Client: SA Health

Across Australia, the demand for renal units is on the rise. Dialysis patients can spend five hours a day, several days a week in these facilities, so quality of clinical environments and proximity to care deeply impact quality of life.

What we did: Hospital addition
Specialist renal unit
Future proofing for expansion

The Gawler Health Service Renal Unit improves access to hospital-based dialysis for outer urban patients to Adelaide’s north, and plays a role in easing demand for such services in metropolitan, tertiary hospitals. In designing this new facility, our aim was to alleviate an uncomfortable but necessary patient experience, and improve service functionality for medical staff, while also planning for the hospital’s anticipated growth.

Within a limited footprint, the addition feels spacious, despite more than half of the 500 square metres dedicated to amenities and services that support the orderly and sterile function of the unit. A generous staff station overlooks nine dialysis chairs – three in isolation rooms – with ultra-pure water supplied by a dedicated reverse-osmosis plant on site.

There are rooms for private consults, an office space and staff room, dirty utilities and a separate, clean store and drug room. With treatments occurring so regularly, we focused on ease of wayfinding and access, locating an all-hours, secondary hospital entry for the clinic adjacent to the existing car park on site. To brighten visits, we played with natural light. Laser-cut steel screens cast patterned shading, filtering views of the new landscaping outdoors, while offering thermal protection for the building.

As our fourth facility design of this type, the unit allowed us to consolidate specialist building services knowledge, while also stretching our technical expertise with some intricate site requirements. The first stage expansion extended the existing hospital footprint, but future provision has been made for a firstfloor day surgery above the clinic, which added complexity to construction. Bored piles were required to support the new level, which required careful drilling to navigate the hospital’s main electrical conduits beneathWith meticulous planning and potholing, excavation was managed smoothly with no detrimental impact to services or the construction schedule.

Photography credits:R&Y