John Wardle Architects and Conrad Gargett have been announced as the project team for Australia’s first-ever standalone heart hospital. The $543-million Victoria Heart Hospital was announced last year by the Andrews Labor Government, which will be funding the lion’s share of the project.

The project team has engaged Sarah Williams Goldhagen, a US-based architecture author and critic, to assist with the design process. Goldhagen’s work in the field focuses on the intersection between cognitive psychology, neuroscience and the built environment, and explores how design contributes to and shapes our feelings, memories and wellbeing. Her extensive research on this culminated in her 2017 book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives.

The final design for the Victorian Heart Hospital will need to provide space for 195 beds and have the capacity to facilitate 2,000 cardiac surgeries each year, 13,500 cardiac catheterisation laboratory procedures and 108,000 consultations and outpatient appointments. This will require the integration of diverse research and care facilities into the design, such as cardiac theatres, cardiac catherisation laboratories and ambulatory services such as cardiac CT, echocardiography and specialist consultation areas.

In addition to these immediate requirements, the Victorian Heart Hospital design will need to include “scope for expansion to build capacity to meet future demand and additional research space”.

Once complete, the Victorian Heart Hospital will form part of the Monash University Clayton campus, on a site opposite the Australian Synchrotron. According to Monash, the combination of a strategic location and purpose-built cardiac facilities will be a groundbreaking addition to Australian healthcare, allowing for a significant expansion of the existing capacity and models of care. The new hospital will “enable a flexible and proactive approach to new treatment paradigms and rapidly evolving technology”.

“Stand-alone heart hospitals have become the preferred model for delivery of cardiac care around the world,” the university announced upon the release of funding. “This option ‘future proofs for capacity growth and flexibility for new paradigms of care well into the future.”

Now that a project team has been confirmed, the Victorian Heart Hospital is on schedule for a completion date of 2022.