Bates Smart with Billard Leece Partnership and HKS have won the International Interior Design award at the 2012 Emirates Glass LEAF Awards ceremony in London for their work on the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.

The LEAF Awards celebrate the best that global architecture has to offer and honour the architects designing the buildings and solutions that are setting the benchmark for the international architectural community.

In awarding Bates Smart, Billard Leece Partnership and HKS, the judges said:

“The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne puts children and their families first. Its aesthetic pulls in design elements from the Royal Park that surrounds the hospital, with lots of nature-based colours, textures and shapes that invite the human touch.

“At the heart of the facility is a six-storey atrium, a naturally lit public thoroughfare that links all the elements of the hospital. There’s a two-story coral reef aquarium and a meerkat enclosure to delight young patients.

“The calming effects of nature are present here, and throughout the building, to make an otherwise stressful visit to the hospital something special.”

The LEAF Award judges were impressed by the building’s special character. 

“It’s a “large imposing complex structure”, they said, “creatively detailed to provide small-scale playful environments.”

Bates Smart’s Design Director for the project, Kristen Whittle commented:

“What is really pleasing for us is that the new Royal Children’s Hospital, as well as being a crucial part of Victoria’s future, is becoming crucial to the next phase of healthcare design globally, where there is a much greater focus on creating spaces that nurture our health as well as the planet,” he says. 

The overall winner for 2012 was the Musashino Art University Museum & Library Tokyo, Japan, designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects. It also won the Public Building award.

Judges said: It’s a sophisticated yet simple solution, and an excellent example of form following function. The building’s primary role of storing and retrieving books becomes the concept for the interior and exterior design.”


The Musashino Art University Museum and Library is a new public space for one of the distinguished art universities in Japan. Like a huge forest of books, the library is one large bookshelf on its interior and exterior walls. Image source: e-architect 

Other winners included:

  • Mixed–Use Building of the year award: Steven Holl Architects with Daeyang Gallery & House, South Korea
  • Residential Building of the year award (single occupancy): Architectureburo Govaert & Vanhoutte with Villa Roces, Bruges, Belgium
  • Residential Building of the year award (multiple occupancy): Rafiq Azam with S.A Residence, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Commercial Building of the year award: WOW Architects with Vivanta Hotel, Bangalore, India
  • Refurbishment of the year award: Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, with The Granary
  • Best Sustainable Development: Arup Associates with The Druk White Lotus School, Shey, India

Best Future Buildings 2012:

  • Skidmore Owings + Merrill with Manhattan Loft Gardens, London, UK
  • MZ Architects, The Rock Stadium, Al Ain, UAE
  • Lifetime Achievement in architectural Community award:  Daniel Libeskind

Visit to view the complete shortlist of entrants.