Phillips Smith Conwell

UQ Health Sciences Building – RBWH

Builder

Hutchinson Builders

Completed

2009

Location

Herston, Queensland

Photographer

Aperture

Located at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital (RBWH), the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Health Sciences building converted an existing 1960’s building into a student focussed, collaborative learning environment with associated administration facilities and a world class Pathology Museum.

The project included the renovation of the external façade and adjacent external spaces, interior upgrade and full fitout of all levels. The low floor to floor height on some levels, narrow floor plate, short spans between columns, unstable brickwork, and deteriorated aluminium framing system were some of the challenges we faced in renovating the building.

Despite this, efficient planning solutions were put in place to ensure quality spaces that enhance the building’s original qualities and provides future flexibility. We achieved this through relocating the majority of work spaces to areas that gain higher levels of daylight visibility, as well as the insertion of full height glazing to maximise expansive views outwards. Increasing ceiling heights was also completed where possible to enhance the internal spaces.

The exception to this was the level containing the Pathology Museum. Careful control of daylight was required to minimise the deterioration of the collection, therefore a panel system was placed strategically on the façade to protect the Museum’s pieces.

The new triangular façade statement provides an important sunshading system as well as an identity for the building. This, alongside the new double story entry, provides a focus towards the upper plaza connections and adjacent UQ facilities. The stainless steel, faceted screen changes reflectivity as the sun travels across the façade and creates a point of reference to the UQ precinct from various locations on the RBWH campus.

The full renovation has transformed the building into an exciting teaching facility and further reinforced UQ’s place on the hospital campus.