Southern Cross Brightside Hospital Extension


The design is intended to develop a contemporary architectural response which has a separate identity from the existing hospital. It is not considered viable to adapt the plastered masonry and coloured joinery detail of the existing building to the new forms and functions proposed for the extension.Furthermore, we consider that the new building should respond to the existing built context along the eastern section of Gillies Avenue, which includes many significant structures incorporating red brickwork.

The footprint of the proposed building is broadly determined by the set-back from the neighbouring boundaries in direct response to the site perimeter yards, existing mature trees, the height-to-boundary recession planes and the Client’s commitment to retain existing character elements such as the boundary stone walls and associated hedges. The scheme allows for the retention of the scheduled pohutukawa and Australian frangipani, as well as the mature jacaranda and other existing trees located in side yards of the 3 Brightside Road site; as well as the puriri, tulip and dawn redwood on the south-east corner of 153 Gillies Ave, and another pohutukawa on the street boundary of 149 Gillie’s Ave. The existing stone walls around the street boundaries and between the sites are largely retained, with some section modified or re-built. The substantial hedges are also retained. Along with the existing trees within the street berms this will help to screen the higher parts of the building against the southern boundary where it extends in part through the HIRB plane.

Design Concept

The building programme is arranged in three layers. The ground floor contains support services spaces along with the at-grade servicing requirements within the building envelope. These uses are split by a generous entry lobby which essentially divides the building into two wings, with visibility from Gillies Ave through this glazed “atrium” to the landscape on 3 Brightside Road behind. This lobby facilitates access for both the new approach from Gillies Ave to the east and from the existing hospital to the west. 

The first floor houses in-patient rooms and associated facilities for overnight customer stays, and surgery pre-operative spaces. The second floor provides for six new operating theatres, postoperative recovery areas, storage and support spaces for both staff and equipment.

The mechanical plant required to support the facility is housed in an enclosed rooftop plant room on the southern half of the site, keeping it as far from neighbouring residential properties as possible. This plant room has inclined walls suggesting a “mansard” roof with recessed features intended to break down the mass of this against the skyline. 

The new building is linked back to the existing facility via a twostorey, elevated bridge at first and second floors aligning and connecting the in-patient and theatre floors with each other and providing for access to the enlarged central sterile services department within the existing hospital.


The different uses of the floors are expressed through contrasting materiality and articulation in a tectonic composition. The ground floor support services and entry areas are clad primarily in glass to provide transparency wherever possible to maintain natural light. The remaining spaces are a mixture of glazing and pale terracotta panels which whilst maintaining the texture and module of the terracotta cladding above, differentiate the ground level in colour. The ground floor enclosure is essentially recessive in it’s appearance. 

The first floor scale is reduced through the expression of the cellular nature of the patient rooms and glazing at the ends of the corridors. The room balconies provide additional depth and articulation to the elevations. This floor is clad primarily in red terracotta panels, making reference to the red brickwork used for bases, chimneys, and in more recent times, whole facades on numerous nearby properties. 

The theatre floor is clad primarily with vertical anodised aluminium fins, backed by a glazed curtainwall system. This provides a fine-grained unifying enclosure sufficiently flexible to suit the numerous and varied requirements of the spaces behind, while reducing solar glare and constraining views out to maximise privacy.  The link bridge is similarly clad with fins over curtainwall glazing to provide screening to hospital activities within, whilst creating a transparent form sitting between two mature tree canopies. The reflectivity of the glazing will help to de-materialise the upper floor and bridge by literally reflecting the tree foliage and the sky above. The screening fins provide shading/glare reduction, additional privacy and a changing texture as the facades are experienced by viewers moving along the perimeter roads. The plant room is formed by a zinc-grey standing seam metal mansard roof to help the form recede into the background and sky where it is visible through the trees. 

Infill cladding and soffit elements, flashings, window glazing profiles and the like will be polyester powder coated or anodised in a dark bronze finish to act as a consistent recessive element running between the major facade materials. 

External balustrading utilises a continuous clamping base-track with cantilevered glass panels. Glass treatments are to be applied to areas requiring privacy not afforded by the setback of the balcony recesses. 

Building on investigations from the heritage and urban design consultants, the predominantly horizontal banding of the facades is broken by the expression of the existing site boundaries and yards between 149, 151 and 152 Gillies Ave The primary vertical separation is achieved through taking the glazing from the entrance up through the floors above on both sides, and creating deeply recessed terraces on the first floor, effectively splitting the building into two discrete, but similar, wings. The ‘secondary’ breaks are articulated through subtle variations in the terracotta and fins screens.

Landscape & External Works

The external works proposal retains the existing approaches and circulation around 3 Brightside with a new internal roadway connection adjacent to the link bridge and around the north end of the new building following the boundaries. This intentionally alters the primary entry to the site to be via a left-in, left-out bell-mouth off Gillies Ave which will provide access for staff, customers, and service vehicles alike. This configuration of the road allows the building to sit lower on the site and make use of the drop in elevation from south to north.

New retaining and site walls will be clad in a stone facing to compliment but not mimic the existing dry-stone walls to be retained on the sites.

Parking & Access

In addition to the parking provided at -grade in front and behind the building, a single level of basement can be accessed by a vehicle ramp under the south-west corner of the building. Secure cycle parking is provided in the basement with visitor stands adjacent to the entrances.

The existing access to the 3 Brightside entry and visitor car parking areas are maintained, as are the road access points onto Brightside Road. Surface parking for bicycles and cars (including accessible spaces) is provided at-grade under the east and west sides of the building, and against the Gillies Ave boundary. Paths and roadways are to be formed in exposed aggregate concrete to provide a high quality aesthetic to the landscaped areas.