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Centre of attention – the new Harley Gray Building at Middlemore Hospital

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Designed to integrate seamlessly with existing facilties, the new Harley Gray Building provides state-of-the-art clinical services at the heart of Middlemore Hospital

Centre of attention – the new Harley Gray Building at Middlemore Hospital Discover this article's resources 0

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In today's hospital environments, emphasis is increasingly placed on the dignity and privacy of patients – no-one wants to be wheeled through a public area on the way to a major operation, for example. Perhaps the most logical way to ensure these benefits is to build the zoning process directly into the architecture.

Designed by specialised environments architects Klein, the new Harley Gray Building, previously known as the Clinical Services Building (CSB), provides 34,000m2 of new space for Middlemore Hospital in Auckland. This includes an operating suite, an assessment unit, a post-anaesthetic care unit and non-clinical support, such as the hospital kitchen and spiritual centre. There is also provision for two further clinical departments in the future.

The new five-storey building reconciles levels, and optimises patient and visitor flow right across the campus. Corridors connect it to wards, such as the Edmund Hillary Building, an earlier Klein project, and other clinical buildings, such as Galbraith, says senior associate Nicholas Wedde.

"This supports the hospital's goal of transferring patients or equipment on levels one and two, and meals or supplies on the lower ground level, leaving the ground floor free for movement of family and visitors. The top level has the plant required to run the clinical services," says Wedde.

Surgery suites are on the second floor, neonatal units on the first floor and the medical assessment unit, public circulation and spiritual centre are on the ground floor. Lower ground contains back-of-house functions previously spread across the site.

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Importantly, the corridors and passages of the Clinical Services Building link to re-adjusted floors set out similarly in the adjacent buildings. This allows for the separation of clinical, visitor and non-clinical support right across the wider hospital.

The setting ensures the new structure also connects with part of the Rainbow Corridor, a pedestrian link to most other buildings that is almost as old as the hospital itself. The corridor was also refurbished in the area where it runs close alongside the new structure.

Constructing a large clinical services building in the middle of a hospital in full operation had its issues. To maintain medical services and mitigate costs, the ground-floor east wing housing the kitchen was built as phase one. With this service up and running, the main building was then addressed.

The massing of the building, essentially a large rectangular form, is broken up by three fins accommodating ducting. The project brief included large areas of shell space for the future radiology and laboratory units, two services-intensive departments. Making provision for these later fit-outs led to the relocation of the main service ducts to the outside of the building. This strategy will enable duct work for future units to be installed with less disruption to the clinical environments.

Designed to meet the post-disaster operational aspects associated with an Importance Level 4 facility, the Harley Gray Building is a two-way reinforced concrete structure with precast double tee flooring.

Cladding is mainly precast concrete panel, chosen for its durability, ease of maintenance and cost effectiveness. Lightweight Alucobond on the three service ducts will be easy to remove as needed to meet future requirements.

"This finish also provides a high quality, attractive architectural solution to what could have read as an awkward series of add-ons," says the architect.

The south facade has a bay of floor-to-ceiling glazing. This is easily removed and reinstated to enable installation of large equipment. It has the second benefit of providing construction access for the radiology and laboratory fit-outs.

Similarly, the east facade has a lightweight profile cladding, again for flexibility. This will be removed when stage two, above the kitchen, is built.

"Klein has completed several buildings at Middlemore Hospital," says Wedde. "Over recent years, we have moved through the site, levelling, reconciling and connecting the buildings for a more integrated, free-flowing operation."

First published date: 21 August 2014

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Credit List

Project Harley Gray Building, Middlemore Hospital, Auckland
Architect Klein Architects in association with Silver Thomas Hanley and
Chow Hill
Owner Counties Manukau District Health Board
Construction Hawkins Construction
Services and mechanical engineer Beca
Structural engineer Holmes Consulting Group
Quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall
Project manager RCP
Roofing Dimond 630
Cladding Concrete panel, Alucobond, Dimond BB900