Fostering Health and Innovation: The Central Coast Clinical School and Research Institute
In the ever-expanding urban landscape, the importance of creating local opportunities for education, health, research, and employment cannot be overstated. The Central Coast Clinical School and Research Institute, nestled in Gosford, an hour north of Sydney, stands as a beacon of progress and collaboration. A joint venture between the University of Newcastle and the Central Coast Local Health District, this cutting-edge facility not only addresses the region’s health and medical needs but also contributes significantly to academic research and local employment opportunities.
Designing for Progress
At the heart of this transformative project is DesignInc Sydney, providing interior design and architectural services that seamlessly blend warmth and comfort with state-of-the-art technological facilities. The institute, covering 8,000 square meters, represents a $21 million investment and stands as a testament to the commitment to the community’s well-being and advancement.
Balancing Tradition and Innovation
The design values and principles guiding the project reflect a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. Collaboration, openness, respect, empowerment, equity, excellence, engagement, innovation, integrity, and sustainability form the foundation upon which this institute is built. The design ensures the health and well-being of its users, creating a welcoming and non-institutional environment through the selection of natural colors, materials, and adaptable spaces that encourage reflection, collaboration, and social activity.
A Unique Collaborative Environment
Professor Nick Goodwin, Director of the Central Coast Research Institute, emphasizes the institute’s role in fostering collaboration between health services, academics, and clinical professionals. This synergy supports integrated care research, education, and training, creating a hub of new ideas and methodologies.
Scott McLachlan, Chief Executive of the Central Coast Local Health District, recognizes the energy within the building, with clinicians, researchers, educators, and professionals coming together to explore innovative research, technologies, and integrated care models.
Connecting to Country
The institute’s commitment to acknowledging and respecting the local Indigenous community is evident in its design narrative. A consultation with Aunty Bronwyn Razem and Lecturer Darren Nolan guided the incorporation of an authentic Indigenous narrative into the project.
The “Thurru,” meaning the journey of health, stands as a culturally sensitive Indigenous space on the ground floor. Indigenous artwork, including a weave glazing decal by Artist Nicole Monks, welcomes visitors, creating a sense of belonging. High-level windows, glazed bi-fold doors, and star-like downlights further enhance the storytelling experience, connecting the space to the broader building.
Representing Darkinjung Country
The journey through Darkinjung Country begins at the main entry, where an Acknowledgment of Country and Kevin Rudd’s official apology set the tone for the institute. Indigenous principles of welcoming, gathering, and learning are embodied in the Thurru, with a locally acquired sandstone boulder symbolizing Darkinjung Country at its center. The color scheme reflects the natural environment, integrating green grasslands, ochre sandstone, and the brightness of the blue sky.
Facilities for Progress
The institute’s fitout encompasses a range of facilities, including workplace and retail areas, training and research spaces, a cafe, student orientation zones, and medical simulation wards. The Central Coast Research Institute focuses on integrated, translational care and research, health promotion, public health, health improvement, and education.
Innovative Material Selection: Corian® Staircase Cladding
One standout feature of the Central Coast Clinical School and Research Institute is the incorporation of Corian®, in the cladding of the staircase. DesignInc Sydney’s commitment to marrying aesthetics with functionality is evident in this choice. Corian®, renowned for its adaptability and aesthetic appeal, brings a contemporary and sleek touch to the staircase design. Beyond its visual appeal, Corian® offers a practical advantage with its impressive fire ratings. The material is inherently fire-resistant, boasting a Class A fire rating, making it a safe and reliable choice for a high-traffic and critical area like a staircase. This ensures that not only does the design align with the institute’s commitment to safety and innovation, but it also meets stringent fire safety standards, further enhancing the overall resilience and functionality of this state-of-the-art facility.
The Central Coast Clinical School and Research Institute is more than a health and education facility; it’s a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and cultural sensitivity in shaping the future of healthcare and research. As it stands proudly in Gosford, it serves as a model for creating opportunities and fostering progress in peri-urban and peri-regional areas.
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