Plans Firming for $1.95bn Adelaide Hospital


Plans for Adelaide’s new $1.95-billion Women’s and Children’s Hospital are crystallising, with a new 12-storey state-of-the-art facility to be built in the city’s biomedical precinct.

It will be Australia’s first all-electric hospital with 500 treatment spaces, 170 outpatient consultation rooms and two air bridges linking directly to the co-located Royal Adelaide Hospital’s intensive care unit and helipad.

The project has been many years in the making after the South Australian government announced in 2018 that the 140-year-old hospital would make way for the Lot Fourteen development.

Woods Bagot associate principal Edwina Bennett, who is speaking at The Urban Developer's virtual one-day summit on healthcare property, said the Adelaide-based architecture firm had put forward an international team for their successful bid, including Woods Bagot, Bates Smart, Jacobs, and UK-based BDP.

But the project was not without its challenges, according to Bennett, who said there was a significant number of shareholder groups involved in the success of the project, plus an awkward triangular and somewhat constrained site to contend with.

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“Everybody is quite attached to the existing hospital. It's near and dear to a lot of people historically and, being a smaller city, I guess everyone’s either had an experience there or knows someone who's had an experience there,” Bennett said.

“[It’s] momentous for the organisation itself … but also for Adelaide in that it's being sited down the western end of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, which of course was finished nearly 10 years ago now, so it's really bookending the Bio Med precinct.

“That's been one of the big growth and success stories of Adelaide, certainly over the past decade.”

▲ The 12-storey vertical hospital sits on a triangular 11,000sq m site in the biomedical precinct. Images: Woods Bagot
▲ The 12-storey vertical hospital sits on a triangular 11,000sq m site in the biomedical precinct. Images: Woods Bagot

Bennett said the 11,000sq m site would accommodate a 12-storey 100,000sq m building with a seven-storey podium, the two air bridges, and a direct connection across the train lines to parkland.

UK-based BDP practitioners have brought their firsthand experience of a pandemic in full-flight to help inform the hospital’s design and best-practice.

“We are absolutely dealing with a pandemic world and it's been interesting being one of the the largest hospitals in the country, certainly coming into its design phases and master planning,” Bennett said.

“We won the bid during the pandemic, so we really had to shift our thinking pretty quickly … the clinicians and the doctors and everyone is looking for benchmarking best practices and evidence-based design.”

The physical ties between the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital will create a publicly accessible concourse linking the hospitals that continues through to the parklands.

Bennett said the design team was committed to ensuring inclusivity of all cultures and honouring the Kaurna land on which the hospital will be built, as a place of meeting, and it’s connectivity to the river.

Bennett said they were aiming for completion at the end of 2026 for occupation in 2027.

Also in Adelaide, Northwest has announced it will spend $165 million to create a healthcare precinct at Playford in Adelaide.

The investment includes a $49-million specialist medical centre, and a $93-million private hospital to be operated by Calvary Health Care, with eight operating theatres and 120 beds.

Northwest chief executive Craig Mitchell said it was its second multi-million-dollar health investment announced in the past month in South Australia, following the acquisition of the Tennyson Centre for $93 million.

“This brings our recent healthcare investments in South Australia to more than $260 million, and deepens our footprint in the state, allowing us to bring together the best healthcare providers and create a state-of-the-art private healthcare precinct at Playford to improve and expand the delivery of health services to South Australians,” Mitchell said.

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