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Adult Acute Inpatients Unit (AAIU), The Canberra Hospital


Collaborating with Diane Jones and her team at PTW Architects, Lindsay was lead design architect on this challenging and innovative project. Striving to transcend current and dated healthcare typologies, the design focuses on casual structures that promote immediate contact with natural phenomena.

In 2008, PTW was commissioned by ACT Health to design a new adult mental health inpatient unit. In search of a new model, PTW and the ACT Mental Health team researched and consulted widely to develop a brief that met the aspirations of consumers, carers, health professionals and the community. This brief was informed by over 380 hours of consultation with approximately 70 different stakeholder groups, research literature and benchmarking.

The internal spaces of the AAIU are composed around a series of courtyards, providing access to natural light and green spaces and unencumbered movement between interior and exterior zones.

The central spine of the building contains the primary socialisation and interaction spaces for staff and consumers: an eating area and lounge areas.

Open spaces to the west and south provide gardens for rest and working (vegetables and orchard), a sports court, amphitheatre and walking track.

The new unit is designed to support and promote empowerment and optimism among consumers, carers and staff.

The project has been instrumental in developing a new model of care in mental health, and is considered by Mental Health ACT as representing the forefront of best practice in psychiatric care facility design.

[It's] a holistic model of care for mental health patients which is setting a new benchmark for care, leading the nation in every way.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, ABC News, March 2012

PTW Architects project page