St leonards health organisation relocation

St leonards health organisation relocation

About the project

Client : Multiplex
Location : St Leonards, NSW
Length of Project : 2018 - 2020
Nation Flag
Indigenous Nation : Gaimariagal/Guringai - Cammeraygal

Adjacent to the Royal North Shore Hospital, the St Leonards Health organisation Relocation (SHOR) at 1 Reserve Road, is occupied by the NSW Ministry of Health staff and other NSW health agencies.

Adjacent to the Royal North Shore Hospital, the St Leonards Health organisation Relocation (SHOR) at 1 Reserve Road, is occupied by the NSW Ministry of Health staff and other NSW health agencies.

The area was once inhabited by the Cammeraygal people of the Guringai clan, who were known for their strong connections to the land, and their use of key landscape elements such as water, fire and vegetation as part of the healing process.

This commercial building, designed by BVN, is situated within a nexus of public activation, located south of the Royal North Shore Hospital campus, east of Gore Hill park and west of St Leonards Train station.

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Brief

Arcadia has designed the public domain to increase amenity and useable open space in St Leonards, encouraging a diverse range of users to commute, collaborate or meet socially in what is essentially a commercial breakout space.

Arcadia has designed the public domain to increase amenity and useable open space in St Leonards, encouraging a diverse range of users to commute, collaborate or meet socially in what is essentially a commercial breakout space.

The project enhances pedestrian connection, celebrates human interaction and embraces the Indigenous heritage and character of the site.

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Design Principles

Connection to Cammeraygal country forms the cornerstone of the design. Arcadia’s innovative design approach responds to the traditional Indigenous history with an overlay of contemporary First Nations culture woven through the materiality, the seating strategy, planting, and the public art in the space.

Connection to Cammeraygal country forms the cornerstone of the design. Arcadia’s innovative design approach responds to the traditional Indigenous history with an overlay of contemporary First Nations culture woven through the materiality, the seating strategy, planting, and the public art in the space.

The public domain of 1 Reserve Road subtly communicates the narrative of the site, reflecting the importance of yarning and congregating in Indigenous culture.

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Context & Materiality

Arcadia commenced the project by critically assessing the use and function of the space from an anthropocentric standpoint. From collaborating with civil engineers on the natural undulation of the site, to coordinating with local artists in order to provide a responsive landscape to its Indigenous context, it was a complex team effort.

Arcadia commenced the project by critically assessing the use and function of the space from an anthropocentric standpoint. From collaborating with civil engineers on the natural undulation of the site, to coordinating with local artists in order to provide a responsive landscape to its Indigenous context, it was a complex team effort.

Arcadia designed a series of spaces which can be used as meeting rooms, lunch nooks or places of respite for the public. These include the timber deck area fronting the building, the higher tier sandstone with Corian-clad seating, and raw sandstone nooks around the larger turf space, giving an abundance of seating options with a large quantity of pedestrian movement and interaction. Corian was used in an innovative way on the sandstone seating, with Arcadia working on the Corian detail with Indigenous artist Nicole Monks. The detail has been shaped to reflect the shoreline of the nearby Sydney Harbour, with text artwork that is the Indigenous translation of what would usually occur at this place on the foreshore.

Connection to Country is woven through the public art in the space, through collaboration with artist Nicole Monks. The public artwork seeks to acknowledge and maintain the heritage of the past while implementing contemporary ideas and usable public art, with the ability to bring people together and create wellbeing. The artwork includes the shade canopy, message stick sculpture, Corian laser cutting design, sandstone meeting circle design and text on the underside of the building canopy.

An Indigenous planting strategy recognises the Blue Gum High Forest as the original plant community on the land as well as acknowledging the larger plant communities that flank the site. The Blue Gum High Forest is part of the distinctive landscape of the Sydney region, not found anywhere else in Australia.

The historical significance of restoring the community provides a living link to Ancient Australia – Blue Gum High Forest acts as a window to the past, revealing the native landscape of the local Aboriginal Guringai people and early non-Aboriginal settlers would have seen in the eighteenth century. The landscape supports native fauna habitat via a considered endemic planting approach.

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Project completion

Completed in 2020, the SHOR public domain has become a popular lunchtime location for nearby workers from the RNSH and St Leonards CBD, who appreciate the access to seating with solar / shade amenity.

Completed in 2020, the SHOR public domain has become a popular lunchtime location for nearby workers from the RNSH and St Leonards CBD, who appreciate the access to seating with solar / shade amenity.

During the morning and afternoon peak hours, hundreds of commuters pass through the new accessible pedestrian link which, now provides a direct connection from the existing Herbert Street pedestrian bridge (from St Leonards station) with Reserve Road and the health, education and commercial precincts beyond. The flexibility of the space has been evident in the COVID crisis, with it used daily for the televised NSW Health press conferences.

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