A special development zone, a major Brisbane Road tunnel and super tough volcanic rock to drill footings into were just some of the challenges facing the architect designing the $100 million Herston Private Hospital building.
“It’s a fantastic location and most innovative to the Herston Precinct and we are very proud of how it turned out,” said ThomsonAdsett senior architect David Lane.
Herston Private Hospital (HPH) has taken naming rights over 7 Wren Street and is the largest tenant in the mixed-use development next to Queensland’s largest public hospital, the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH). The other major tenant is national fertility clinic operator Genea.
The ten storey newly constructed tower is in a Queensland Government Priority Development Area (PDA). PDAs are specific accelerated development sites with the focus on economic growth and while receiving priority development there are significant conditions to negotiate in building design.
“We worked with the developer to maximize the great site which is so close to the state’s major public hospital RBWH,” said Mr Lane.
“That involved negotiating with planning authorities a significant uplift in allowable general floor area and building height, along with converting it from industrial light business to mixed use, involving residential, commercial and medical.
“The trade off from the state government was it had to be an innovative building, which it is!
“It’s a building built for tomorrow, there are two skins to the building, the inner water proofing skin and then an environmental skin to reduce air-conditioning load and support the exterior greenery,” said Mr Lane.
There’s a high degree of energy saving used, from solar to rainwater harvesting along with the extensive use of a garden in the façade. The rooftop solar will generate 25% of the building’s energy needs along with 80% of its non-potable water.
At night the distinctive fluid lighting through the façade is designed to blend out the 5-level 300+ car park which is incorporated into the top floors.
Like other Brisbane landmarks such as the 81-year-old nearby Story Bridge, the exterior lighting at 7 Wren Street will also change colour to mark special days and events. There are also EV charging stations throughout the car park.
The HPH building is already 70% leased with Genea taking 600 sqm on level 2 and Herston Private Hospital occupying the ground floor and level 1. Herston Private Hospital’s Medical Director Dr. Patrick See says the fit-out is well underway and recruitment of key personnel in progress
“With Brisbane’s private and public operating theatres currently booked to near capacity and current lengthy waiting lists, Herston Private Hospital has 30 medical specialists committed to operate in three new well equipped operating theatres,” said Dr See.
Expected to be operating my mid-July the location and design of the hospital will appeal to both patients and ‘time poor’ surgeons needing to park, consult and operate in the one building – all within 200 metres of the largest public hospital in Queensland where many of those surgeons also currently work.
Brisbane architects ThomsonAdsett have designed medical centres across AustralAsia.
In the design of 7 Wren Street as a short stay hospital, a higher grade of building material was specified, from concrete to increased soundproofing. Premium materials have been used throughout to elevate the experience of all that come to visit it.
“The façade greenery which is a feature of the building sits outside the water proofing. As designing architect, it called for strong quality control on concrete density and reinforcing steel in the construction to cope with the vertical garden”, said David Lane.
The rock foundation is 226 million years old and is known as Brisbane Tuff. It’s super tough and can be seen on heritage public buildings throughout the city, like the Windsor Council Chambers and the cliff face of the nearby quarry park on Lutwyche Road.
There’s a regeneration underway of residential, commercial, and medical property through the inner northside starting with the $2.9-billion redevelopment of the RNA Showgrounds which Herston Private Hospital overlooks.
7 Wren Street sits in the 108 Hectare Bowens Hills PDA which includes the nearby RNA.
Most of the surrounding buildings are likely to become medical as the Herston Medical Precinct has run out of room. It’s either knockdown and rebuild or go east into the site between O’Connell Terrace and Campbell Street. Demolition has just begun on another major corner site in O’Connell Terrace with future medical uses planned for the site.
Its expected Herston Private Hospital will start operations in early July with other tenants soon to follow.