Student Led Interprofessional Health Clinic
The architecture of the Student-Led Interprofessional Health Clinic at Victoria University’s Werribee Campus is uniquely tailored to the clinic’s innovative approach to interprofessional education and health care, while the built form references the unique landscape of Werribee in a U-shaped form.
Much of the architecture and spatial planning of the clinic was influenced by an innovative approach to healthcare in which the ‘client’ is the central focus. Rather than consult with health experts individually relating to each health issue, the client meets with the lead member of an interprofessional team who then collaborates with the team to determine a tailored plan of treatments or consults in a range of areas to meet the holistic needs of the client.
The clinic includes ‘Interprofessional (IP) pods’ where the team, on one side of the pod, can watch and review the lead member, with the client on the other side of the pod via telepresence. The client will not be overwhelmed during assessment with a full team of professionals, yet the pod design will ensure the value of multiple team members providing specialist advice, helping to shape the overall treatment plan.
The teams in the clinic are made up of senior students across a range of health disciplines from Victoria University working together with The University of Melbourne, University of Notre Dame and Kangan Institute of TAFE, under the supervision of expert and registered health practitioners. To achieve the complexity required, the clinic includes a range of spaces in addition to the IP pods, including a teaching kitchen for healthy food preparation and an active living laboratory where clients will be assisted in rehabilitation to maximise quality of movement.
The surrounding landscape of Werribee was a major influence in defining the architectural form and profile of the building. The rich tonal landscape of the Werribee farmlands, the rocks and cliffs of the Werribee Gorge, the long snaking Werribee River (in the local Aboriginal language, ‘wirribi’ means spine or backbone), and the paintings of these by Australian artist Fred Williams, were all important visual and tonal cues for the architecture and landscape.
The building forms a large U shape around a central spine of landscaping, with the sculptural profile of the building and vertical sloping windows inspired by the verticality of the gorge rocks and cliffs. By bringing the landscaping into the heart of the building, the rich contextual references to the region are present throughout, creating a visual amenity and release for the users.
The Victoria University Student-Led Interprofessional Health Clinic provides a new health service in Werribee to support and add value to the current health services available in the western suburbs of Melbourne while also serving as an educational innovator, building on the strengths of each discipline. The design aims to not only reflect the unique health service offering, but to provide a sense of community beyond the traditional health facility.
Architects: Woods Bagot
Location: Footscray VIC 3011, Australia
Design Team: Bruno Mendes, Chris Free, David Ley, Emma-Louise Hannigan, Jo Dane, Matt Si, Melissa Blandford, Olda Kurdiovsky, Richard Galloway, Sarah Ball
Type: Medical Center
Photographs: Peter Bennetts