Architect MBMO has completed Stage 1 of the $181 million redevelopment of Sydney Adventist Hospital, which provides for up to 200 new beds, 10 additional operating theatres, a new Maternity, Women’s Health and Children’s Unit, and an Integrated Cancer Centre.

Fondly known as the San, the hospital has also welcomed a new car park and entry and arrivals building. Its redevelopment is driven by the concept of biophilic design, which is based on the theory that patients should not only receive medical treatment, but do so in a calming environment connected to nature.

This concept is derived from the 1903 sanitarium originally located on the site, where people were treated and learned to stay well.

“This commitment to remain a therapeutic environment for the local community has continued for over 110 years and we knew it was critical for the design to continue this ethos,” explains project director at MBMO, Cameron Martin.

“As a result, we have continued to exemplify the notion of how our natural environment can impact our health and aid recovery.”

Key features that contribute towards this approach include significant emphasis on maximising light, city views, and bushland vistas of the hospital’s leafy bushland location from the ward beds.

From the new LW Clark Tower, expectant mothers can enjoy full window views extending to the Harbour Bridge and Centrepoint Tower from their birthing baths, while patients at the Cancer Clinic also have views to the bushland.

Continuing the restorative environment, MBMO introduced a ‘spiritual triangle’ which runs through the site, connecting the healing garden and common green, as well as a colour palette with a higher and more sophisticated visual feeling.

At the same time, a traditional hospital experience is rejected in favour of the look and feel of a hotel, which MBMO says is reflected in the selection of finishes and design detailing.

The San’s car park, designed with both aesthetics and bush fire standards in mind, was shortlisted for an International Award. Its concrete blades and mesh detailing are not only striking features, but also highly practical in the manner by which they provide ventilation and repel fire.

Photography by Brett Boardman