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Victorian Heart Hospital, Clayton, Australia

Australia’s first dedicated heart hospital and the only of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere set a new international benchmark for cardiac hospital design. The $564 million state-of-the-art Victorian Heart Hospital, operated by Monash Health on the Monash University Clayton campus, is now complete and fully operational, providing a range of world-class clinical cardiology services, research, and education.

The ‘gravitational heart’ acts as the centerpiece of the Victorian Heart Hospital, with the building’s form wrapping around the landscaped courtyard. It is a focal point for people to find their bearings and a recuperative place to connect with the outdoors, both physically and visually from within the building.

The hospital’s design needed to allow the working day’s activities to be seamless, and its organization to be clear and legible. Equally important are the spatial, material, and ambient qualities which define the hospital’s character. It’s these aspects that will strongly influence the mindset of its occupants and ultimately the type of healing environment that has been created.

The public spaces of the hospital radiate out from the circular form of the courtyard, in counterpoint to the rectilinear planning elsewhere. Circulation corridors, both public and clinical, frame views of the courtyard, along with the neighboring university sports fields and the Dandenong Ranges beyond, enhancing visceral connections to nature and daylight.

The Victorian Heart Hospital has been intentionally designed to provide a highly personalized experience and alleviate the stress levels of patients and their families from arrival through to the clinical spaces. Upon arrival at the Victorian Heart Hospital, there is a sense of openness, with large voids and a central café, creating a feeling of a civic place rather than a hospital. The progressive journey through the building gradually increases a sense of tranquillity in the clinical spaces, creating an atmosphere of safety and comfort for patients.

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