Recently built to accommodate a range of health disciplines under one roof, the Sydney University’s Susan Wakil Health Building is a purpose-built facility for medicine and health disciplines.
Designed by Billard Leece Partnership and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the building is an eight level, 21,500sqm state-of-the-art medical building that will cement Sydney University’s medical faculty at the forefront of health innovation, learning and policy.
The fact that all disciplines have been moved into the one precinct affords the opportunity for students and tutors to create unique inter-professional learning programs and multi-disciplinary research opportunities that were previously unable to occur.
The building was designed to be a place of innovation, learning and socialisation. The whole of the Susan Wakil Health Building is an agile environment that actively promotes collaboration between teaching and learning.
Challenging the traditional university environment of siloed learning, the building integrates clinics and academic workspaces, emphasises collaboration, and encourages knowledge-sharing across clinical, teaching and research functions.
DS + R Partner Benjamin Gilmartin says the design process had to allow for multiple factors, both internal and external.
“Our design creates a new common ground for the University, the Hospital and the Charles Perkins Centre, while respecting the site’s historic significance as a gathering place. The landscape rises to encompass shared facilities for research and learning, branching out into a three dimensional network of open spaces connected at every level from inside to outside.
“At the heart of this network is the Upper Wakil Garden — a multivalent and dynamic reinvention of the campus quad. A ‘cleave’ within the upper volume of the Susan Wakil Health Building draws light down into the Garden throughout the year, while its interlacing circulation acts as a connective tissue between academic workplaces and clinical spaces within.”
The facilities of the precinct include state-of-the-art clinical simulation teaching spaces, formal and informal learning and contemporary research facilities, a multi-service clinic serving research, teaching, industry and community outreach functions, activity-based workspaces including a mix of open plan workstations, quiet spaces and social spaces designed to support different ways of working.
Upon entrance to the building, visitors are instantly taken aback by a bright, open space and are able to easily view much of the interior structure. The main entry is connected to the Upper Wakil Garden through the use of a staircase. The central atrium, strategically placed to maximise interaction between multiple disciplines, has many of the building’s facilities, such as the rehabilitation gym and 350-seat lecture theatre built around it.
A focus on activity and movement, social equity and the utilisation of the Wingara Mura design principles have been key priorities in the building’s design, with features such as the Yooroang Garang academic space, which is a dedicated space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to connect and work together. Gender neutral facilities and the Upper Wakil Garden, a place of respite at the heart of the building, all play a part within the overall feel of the building itself.
Located USYD’s Camperdown/Darlington campus, students and researchers leverage the benefits of the proximity of our location adjacent to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and other leading medical institutions.
With construction of the building complete, all USYD medical students will descend upon the building for their tertiary studies. The building will house Sydney Nursing School and the Sydney School of Health Sciences, along with the Central Clinical School and components of the Faculty of Medicine and Health. For more information, head over to sydney.edu.au
Images: Sydney University / Billard Leece Partnership and Diller Scofidio + Renfro