Lady Cilento (LCCH) is a children hospital in Brisbane (Australia), and its design proyect started with the join of the Pediatric Units of Royal and Mater hospitals to get LCCH as the reference pediatric center.

To meet the design, architects studied how hospitals were thought from the 1980s to the present day. After that study, they concluded that the design was focused on the professional.

To give it back to a concept that already was not current, they worked jointly with the small patients, their families and the staff. After a first contact with all of them, architects discovered that one of the main concerns were high levels of stress and emotional distress they feel because of the circumstances.

Thus began the LCCH design process. Based on a new paradigm, a model of obsolete care was left behind to give way to a healing space focused on all the users. This process lasted seven years.

With regard to the design, the team raised the hospital as “an alive tree”: a structure that part of two large atriums that would be the trunks connecting with different spaces, some of them to double height for conforming the branches, and others extend in the space to get to the facade and form balconies in which views of the city can be seen. This approach creates an open space where natural light flows through the hospital, and where nature is very present in the structure, decoration and in gardens.

The building has twelve floors and eleven gardens to be enjoyed by the small patients, their families and staff can go to a break. I love the idea of devoting one of these gardens for pets can visit to their owners, a very simple way of standardizing these visits in the usual day by day of the hospital.

Decoration enhances the concept of tree with furniture, spaces, organic designs and decorative elements suspended in the courts with motifs of flora and fauna, where the color is a very important element. Green color is present in all corners of the Center joining almost naturally with gardens and in turn is very well combined and contrasted with vivid colors that bring to the Centre a feeling of vitality, fun, strength and courage.

Wood is very present in the decoration and the greater part of the decorative elements are made in this material providing warmth and helping the concept of “alive tree”. Noise was another great challenge they faced in designing and to solve this problem, they have used wood with acoustic absorption panels to isolate spaces and take care of the rest of the patients.

When I saw this project I fell in love with it: this is a great example of humanised architecture.The project starts with the active listening to users for who a suitable concept has been created, where natural light, open spaces, very carefully decorated and nature are key elements to create a humanised environment focused on people and the care of their emotions.

Welcome to LCCH from Children’s Health Queensland on Vimeo.


Mónica Ferrero, interior designer in Lab In Action and Proyecto HU-CI.