The Sunshine Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre will set a new benchmark for care and amenity for future mental health developments. We have carefully balanced the requirement for clinician and consumer support within the spaces with the need for privacy, amenity, and safety for all users.
Just like our projects at Northern Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital, our design responds to the New Model of Care proposed in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. We undertook a significant codesign process to understand the needs of clinicians, nurses, stakeholders, and people with lived experience of mental illness.
This facility will provide an additional 52 beds to the existing acute mental health service. The two main building volumes of the unit have been articulated with gentle raking roof forms to the north and west elevations, reducing the visual height where possible on the ring road side of the new development.
The pattern and colour of the brick tile façades are inspired by the textures and tones of a Gum tree. The mottled white and tan bricks break up the height, scale and bulk of the form, providing visual interest at a civic scale.
The interiors have been designed to feel domestic and homelike with materials and colours selected to deinstitutionalise the spaces. Opportunities to enhance consumer autonomy over their environment have been considered, as well as the need for finishes to be robust, attractive, and welcoming. Hand painted mural artworks by local artists have been integrated into the living spaces, corridors and family areas.
Bedrooms are outward facing, and the relationship of the bedroom corridors interfaces with courtyards for the visual amenity of consumers and improved safety of the facility. The bedrooms are clustered in small cohorts around a shared living space, and each is paired with a large internal courtyard. These provide natural light and depth of views, with high-quality landscape providing wellness benefits to consumers, staff, and families.
Through our use of evidence-based design strategies in the design of the consumer spaces and our careful massing and façade design, we hope the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre at Sunshine Hospital will demonstrate the positive shift in status and sense of investment in these facilities for consumers, family, staff and the broader community.