Central Coast Clinical School and Research Institute
As our cities expand into peri-urban and peri-regional areas, creating local opportunities for education, health, research and employment is critical. The new Central Coast Clinical School and Research Institute is a cutting edge health and education facility in Gosford, an hour north of Sydney, that does just that.
A collaboration between the University of Newcastle and the Central Coast Local Health District, the project strengthens joint academic research capacity, provides education and employment opportunities in the region, renews the Central Coast’s health and medical workforce and improves health services for the fast-growing community. DesignInc provided interior design and architectural services to transform the base building into a facility that balances warmth and comfort with cutting edge technological facilities, meeting the needs of the fast-evolving global health landscape.
Design values and principles
The design is underpinned by a range of conceptual values shared by the University of Newcastle and the Central Coast Local Health District: collaboration, openness, respect, empowerment, equity, excellence, engagement, innovation, integrity and sustainability.
The health and wellbeing of the users is a key driver of the design. A cohesive warm, timeless and non-institutional look and feel is created through selection of natural colours and material palette. Spaces are adaptable, encouraging reflection, collaboration, privacy and social activity. Large windows and glass room partitions connect to the surrounding environment, bringing natural light and district views deep into the floor plan.
Our institute provides a unique, collaborative environment to bring together the health service, academics and other clinical professionals to support research, education and training in integrated care.Professor Nick Goodwin
Director, Central Coast Research Institute
I can see a buzz of energy here in this building with some of our best clinicians from the local health district, university, research and clinical direction, education staff, all coming together and feeding off the energy of new ways of doing research, the new technologies, the new thinking around integrated models.Scott McLachlan
Chief Executive, Central Coast Local Health District
Connecting to Country
The Central Coast has a strong and active Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and an authentic Indigenous narrative underpins the design of the new Clinical School and Research Institute.
Consultation with Aunty Bronwyn Razem of the UoN ‘Wollotuka Institute,’ and Lecturer Darren Nolan of the School of Medicine and Public Health and the Thurru Indigenous Health Unit guided the design narrative for the project.
The journey of Stories of Country from the Darkinjung people begins at the main entry, where an Acknowledgement of Country and Kevin Rudd’s official apology endeavours to acknowledge and respect Elders past, present and future.
Upon entering the building Indigenous artwork, including a weave glazing decal by Artist Nicole Monks, is an appropriate precursor to the culturally sensitive Indigenous space called ‘Thurru,’ which translates to the ‘journey of health.’ The Thurru is an enclosed circular space located on the ground floor and open to the public, is designed to welcome visitors and create sense of belonging. Spatial planning and the selection of non-formal, organic furniture shapes was based on three Indigenous principles – welcoming, gathering and learning.
High level windows bring in natural light and large glazed bi-fold doors create a sense of connection to the rest of the building, while small downlights set randomly into the ceiling above the gathering space portray stars in the night sky for storytelling.
In the centre of the Thurru, a locally acquired sandstone boulder is a representation and reminder of Darkinjung Country. The colour scheme also represents its natural environment; green grasslands, ochre sandstone and the brightness of the blue sky.
Natural timber mullions adhered to the glazing in a scattered vertical set out reflect naturally propagated trees encircle the Thurru. The expression of Darkinjung Country was then further woven into the space and integrated throughout the building by way of Indigenous artwork and installations.
The fitout includes a wide range of workplace, retail, training, research and treatment areas. These include a cafe, student orientation zones, learning suites, lecture, tutorial and meeting rooms, nursing and medical simulation wards and laboratory, a biomedical research laboratory, anatomy and histology teaching laboratory and associated facilities, staff and student library, student-led clinic and a variety of workspaces for Health and University staff and the Research Institute. The Central Coast Research Institute is focused on integrated, translational care and research, health promotion and public health, health improvement and education.