The Royal Women's Hospital Birthing Suites and Biomed's project stems from a need to upgrade two Labor and Delivery rooms into negative pressure ones in preparation for future potential epidemics/pandemics.

The secondary driver was to upgrade two existing assessment suites to a large birthing pool suite. This led to relocating the assessment unit (which was only two single rooms) and taking this opportunity to consolidate a full unit with four assessment rooms, its own staff station, storage and waiting room. Each room makes the most of the existing facility and makes the most of the large existing windows, providing natural light and a view to each one of them.

This new unit is located on the site of the existing anaesthetic department which in turn had to be relocated to the biomedical workshop. This was an opportunity to open up rooms and create a large open-plan, collaborative work space. The biomedical workshop was subsequently relocated on the lower ground, giving the team the opportunity to design a space that encompasses all of the biomedical team’s very specific requirements for tools, flows, storage, tech and communication.

The result are series of purpose designed and built spaces that are using the existing language of the facility and its preferred materials (for obvious maintenance reasons) but fully re-inventing their use. The birthing space is warm, curvy and welcoming. Soft and indirect lighting is under the patient’s control and the built form does not specifically dictate where or how to give birth: it embraces contemporary practices of birthing flow and mother’s choices over the process.

The anesthetics workspace create a very contemporary workspace for a team used to very small offices and makes use of the
large glazing ribbon, allowing natural northern light to flood the space. The kitchenette makes it a communal and collaborative work space where task work and training can both be accommodated. The biomedical workshop, often utilitarian, receives a lot of attention with a design that mixes high-tech vibes and the design language, colours and textures of a forest.

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