Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (PMCC) is a leading integrated cancer research, treatment, and education centre globally. Gray Puksand were appointed initially to undertake a detailed Feasibility Study to assess the suitability of various locations within the old Peter Mac site in East Melbourne for a relocated Cancer Imaging Department.

A key consideration of this study were the structural loads of the MRI and imaging machinery and the practicality of installing the equipment and replacing it in the future. Following the recommendations of the feasibility and the selection of Level 2 as the most suitable location – as it would impact on the existing hospital operations the least – a rigorous stakeholder engagement process was undertaken.

This included careful consideration of key operational adjacencies, patient flows and cost and spatial efficiency for operations and maintenance which where critical to the design. Working with the existing building required structural strengthening and shielding to the slab below as well as future proofing for potential expansion of the MRI imaging capability.

Conceptually the design started with the understanding that most of the patients using the imaging department are dealing with traumatic circumstances and the process of scanning can frequently be a stressful process. As such the design started with an image of hope and serenity that holds prime position at the entry into the department. This inspired the warm and welcoming colour palette used throughout the department with colour used as passive wayfinding to guide users through the spaces and delineate waiting areas.

The primary driver for this project is the operational impact on the existing Peter Mac’s MRI imaging within VCCC, as the result of the creation of new underground rail infrastructure (Metro Tunnel Project) under the Parkville precinct. Given the concerns regarding the electro-magnetic fields from the trains affecting the performance of the MRI imaging equipment, the decision to relocate the MRI department was made. With the train tunnels due to be operational by the end of May 2023 this project was executed on a fast-track programme to ensure hospital operations weren’t negatively impacted.

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