Anne Gordon Design (Zetland, Australia) won a 2014 Sydney Design Award for their work on the Royal North Shore Hospital - Acute Services Building.
The Royal North Shore Hospital is one of Sydney's oldest research, healing, trauma, and teaching hospitals. The year 2009 marked the beginning of a huge redevelopment, a unique combination of private and public funding brought together under one consortium. BVN Donovan Hill architects designed the Acute Services Building, winning the bid with a design that used three colors. One building was going to replace the disjointed departmental campus scattered about in old buildings.
The architect's vision was that the colors cladding the outside wings of the building would be embraced internally to identify the lift cores, but it needed specialist wayfinding thinking, so Anne Gordon Design was asked to use the basis of their color scheme to solve and create a wayfinding strategy for the building.
Given the acute services are combined into a building with one main entrance, the legibility of the colored lift cores was central to the wayfinding strategy. The innovation was truly the use of color as a wayfinding tool to correspond with vertical circulation rather than the usual solution, which would have been to color code levels within a multi-story building.
The solution led to the translation of the external colors to each lift core, using the lobby ceiling "tongues" which protruded the internal corridor spaces, for that extra punch and connection to a color that was not only to assist users in finding their way, but help them remember their steps for the return journey. Anne Gordon Design ensured that they had the right balance of contrast for maximum legibility for the messages on the signs, without losing the purposefulness of the color strategy.
The clarity and directness of the wayfinding system is enhanced and enlivened by the use of color. Having a coherent visual strategy is essential to avoid confusing vulnerable and easily disoriented patients. In addition, a well balanced and attractive environment is of major importance to patients’ health and well being and to staff and user enjoyment.