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Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Darlinghurst, Sydney

The Kinghorn is designed to integrate and facilitate translational research

The Kinghorn Cancer Centre is a new outpatient facility located within the St Vincent’s Research Precinct in Darlinghurst, Sydney. An initiative of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Garvan) and St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney (SV&MHS), the Kinghorn Cancer Centre is designed to integrate and facilitate translational research and foster a personalised medicine approach to cancer.

Open and collaborative lab environments are designed for a wide range of future uses, equipment and technology. In a first for Australia, the laboratory environment employs demand controlled ventilation to address the complex ventilation requirements without subdividing the spaces into compartments.

Comprehensive environmentally sustainable design (ESD) principles, which significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the facility, were also incorporated into the design.

The atrium

An open and welcoming feeling prevails from the moment patients enter the building through to the end of their treatment. The main challenge for the lighting design within this space was the desire from the client and architect to prevent any direct viewing of light sources where possible. The geometry of the atrium and absence of ceiling space meant a more unconventional lighting strategy was required.

In tune with the Centre’s vision, conventional separations between the public and staff have been broken down. A pivotal design feature is the strong visual link between the central atrium and write-up spaces, which strengthens the interconnection of activities and promotes awareness for patients and the public.

The atrium stairs are a prominent and highly accessible design feature to encourage walking. Pedestrian movement and vertical transport calculations were adjusted for this with resulting reduction in energy usage and space requirements.

A ‘semi-passive’ environment

The atrium is designed as a ‘semi-passive’ environment with no mechanical air conditioning, offering a more natural air quality and reduced energy usage.

Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analyses were used to determine the comfort level and performance of the atrium environment and ensure it offered the same comforting and welcoming feel as the physical space. System control hierarchies were employed to control the level of conditioning of the air in the spaces.

The atrium void and landing areas receive sunlight during the day and are not actively air conditioned, but tempered via the relief air from the adjacent conditioned spaces. 

A first for Australia

In a first for Australia, the laboratory environment employs demand controlled ventilation to address the complex ventilation requirements without subdividing the spaces into compartments. No walls here to block interaction; it’s all controlled by air and highly sensitive air quality sampling systems.

Each laboratory module was provided with a control system that determines the flow rate via supply and exhaust. Additional moderation achieved via adjustment and supplementation of terminal control units and control system expansion.

The laboratory design includes air quality sampling systems integrated with the ventilation control to create demand controlled ventilation. This allows air change rates to be based on actual air quality measurement. The addition of a purge function provides full air flow when required and the inclusion of down-draught laboratory benches to remove contaminated air at the source further enhances the air performance.

The façade

The open and welcoming feel of the facility depends heavily on the façade design; a high performance construction designed to moderate the indoor environment and optimise comfort levels for occupants. The façade provides external shading to reduce solar heat gain and maximise daylight to interior spaces. Façade optimisation studies underpinned the glare and blind control strategies which were used in conjunction with the façade’s detailed design.

The exterior lighting highlights specific aspects of the building fabric, with all luminaires contained behind the facade. The double skin facade mesh is partially illuminated by luminaires contained within the skirting detail of an exterior corridor that provides access between the Kinghorn Cancer Centre and the adjoining Garvan Institute.

Lighting design

The Haematology Oncology Ambulatory Care is an area where outpatients receive their treatments, typically over a lengthy period extending over months. Traditionally these spaces are highly clinical, however the soft lighting scheme and materials, accompanied by natural daylight  creates a warmer environment where the patients can ease into their treatments. The garden area contained within a translucent U-Glass structure enhances the patient’s view during their treatment while privacy is retained.

The architectural scheme for the 'Write-Up space' created an open ceiling plan with all services exposed to maximise the generous ceiling height. Ceiling suspended luminaires provides the functional downward lighting to the desks and accentuates the services and building finishes above.

Sustainable design

Significantly lower energy requirements will be achieved for this facility through many initiatives for efficiency of energy and water use. These included:

  • Energy modelling to create a baseline of performance against which energy efficiency strategies will be measured.

  • Daylight and occupancy sensors control lighting and reduce levels of ambient lighting to reduce power consumption.

  • Variable air volume diffusers regulate airflow in response to individual room load, reducing heating and cooling loads.

  • Dual CO2/VOC monitoring systems regulate return air based on occupancy of non-laboratory spaces.

  • Reduced electrical infrastructure based on evidence of current usage, retaining appropriate redundancy using a standby generator for substation or network failure.

  • Reduced reliance on potable water through rainwater harvesting (capturing and reusing site rainwater) for cooling towers, irrigation and toilet flushing.

The Kinghorn Cancer Centre truly embodies the exceptional vision of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney. This unique facility is a remarkable demonstration of the inseparable relationship between vision, process and outcome.