Tye Farrow also specifically quoted that: ‘The scientific evidence is extraordinary that the built environment has a significant impact on people’s ability to heal as well as on hospital staff effectiveness.
The Farrow Partnership stated that when designing the facility they embraced humanism, with the complex design’s dramatic use of wood and multiple-height interior spaces flooded with natural light, creating dynamic, innovative and functional places for healing with a non-institutional character
The Centre was also the first cancer facility in Canada to incorporate direct natural light, skylights and wood panel interior finishes in the radiation treatment rooms to enhance the therapeutic experience for patients.
The promenade decking is made from local hardwood, recycled from an old wharf. The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Ontario Canada, designed by the Farrow Partnership, is ranked 6th on the list of the world’s 30 most architecturally impressive hospitals.
Bates Smart and the Irwin Allsop Group said that they specifically chose wood, both new and recycled, to provide warmth, texture, patterning, tactility and a non-institutional feel to the facility. In addition they stated that wood is durable, low maintenance and has already begun to age gracefully.
The judges specifically stated that: ‘The attention to detail is exceptional, clearly demonstrating an understanding of timber design’ and that: ‘The design team demonstrated an understanding of the health benefits of wood’
The building won the 2014 Australian Timber Design Awards due to the combination of modern timber technology, traditional timber use and its specific design for the health benefits of wood.
Reclaimed ironbark has been used for the beams and columns in the indoor-outdoor space and the promenade decking is made from local hardwood, recycled from an old wharf structure at Victoria Harbour.
This is in direct contrast to many mental health facilities that have an unnatural and institutional feel. The use of courtyards, both large and small, with wooden panels creates spaces that also allow light and cross ventilation into the building.
The Dandenong Mental Health Centre, designed by Bates Smart and the Irwin Allsop Group, is the largest mental health facility in Victoria (Figure 3). Natural timber is used extensively in the walls and ceilings throughout the building, both inside and out, to create a residential and suburban feeling.
Now we want to focus on a few number of examples of the types of work being done in wood along with the ideas of those involved. The first example that we would like for you to look at is the Dandenong Mental Health Centre.
An increasing number of architects who design buildings for healing, learning and relaxation are incorporating significant amounts of wood into their structures to capitalise on its health and wellbeing benefits.
To the feelings of warmth and comfort it creates and its natural look and feel. An increasing body of research is beginning to show that being surrounded by wood at home, work or school has positive effects on the body, the brain and the environment.
These survey results provide support to the empirical evidence discussed above. Even though many people don’t understand the health and wellbeing benefits of wood they instinctively react.
Plastic was seen as the cheapest material but it also scored lowest in four out of five categories related to creating pleasant surroundings and being environmentally friendly. Interior wood is being used to frame views of nature.
By nine out of ten people, and as being the most environmentally friendly by seven out of ten people. By comparison the second most popular material, brick, received an average of 34% less positive feedback.
The positive views of wood continue even when compared to other material types (Table 2). Wood was viewed as the material that creates a natural look and feel, warm and cosy environments, is visually appealing and is nice to touch
Eight out of ten people also thought that wood is versatile, recyclable, renewable and long lasting. Australians however appear to be less aware of the environmental benefits of wood, with only six out of ten survey participants understanding that wood stores carbon and creates less carbon emissions during production than steel and concrete.
Results of the Planet Ark survey on whether Australians ‘agree’, ‘disagree’ or ‘don’t know’ when asked questions about wood highlights the positive associations that wood induces in people, where an overwhelming 96% of Australians agreed that wood is ‘visually appealing’ and ‘has a natural look and feel’.
The ability of wood to moderate humidity is a particularly important effect in workplaces. This is because productivity has been demonstrated to be reduced by an average of 12% in offices where staff are dissatisfied with the quality of the air.