The key vision for Ballarat Community Health’s new facility at Lucas, is to contribute to the health and happiness of people through the built environment. DesignInc’s approach was to provide a healthy stimulating environment based on a whole of life philosophy inspired by the benefits of contact with nature and community. Both passive and active strategies have been utilised to engage on a mental and physical level with the underlying message of health promotion and sustainable design.
The design ideas aim to maximise the potential for the building to engage with the community. A central double height atrium spine runs through the centre of the building becoming a continuous experience of air, light and landscape. This ‘landscape spine. provides clear way finding through the building, and defines a series of spaces for passive and active use.
A diverse and rich community program is supported by a dramatic performance stair that rises up at the end of the spine. The ability to open up adjacent multi –purpose spaces allows the space to grow or contract as required. Opportunities for interactive displays, visual connection into activity based spaces and elements that encourage physical engagement have been employed to engage with both staff and clients.
A spectrum of users from different generational and cultural backgrounds access the facilities services and it was important that the building be welcoming and engaging. Nature is incorporated as the common link between these diverse groups. Internal gardens, an enfolding timber pergola, paving and streetlights have been integrated throughout the building to blur the boundaries between inside and out. Recycled timber and brick has been incorporated for its warmth and texture and to contrast the clinical feel that is normally associated with healthcare.
Externally a silhouette of roof meeting landscape aims to integrate place and community, echoing both contextual regional forms and providing a unique identity for Ballarat Community Health. Local material including brick, recycled timber, metal deck cladding and polycarbonate are employed in a contemporary way to express the rural history of the Ballarat region.
Ballarat Community Health
2015 Victorian Architecture Awards: Regional Prize