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2014 Australian Timber Design Award Overall Winner E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00
2014 Australian Timber Design Award - Bates Smart (in collaboration with Irwin Alsop Group) - Dandenong Mental Health Facility
2014 Australian Timber Design Award - Bates Smart (in collaboration with Irwin Alsop Group) - Dandenong Mental Health Facility
The winner of the 2014 Australian Timber Design Award was Dandenong Mental Health Facility, designed by Bates Smart (in collaboration with Irwin Alsop Group). The project is notable for the manner in which timber deinstitutionalises the hospital building and contextualises it within a suburban environment. The Dandenong Mental Health Facility is the largest mental health facility in Victoria and has typically been a stigmatised entity characterised by an ageing and lacklustre built environment, closed to the outside and anonymous in character.

The design, constructed in two stages, is based on a series of linked pavilions, surrounding internal glazed courtyards. The extensive use of natural timber internally in walls and ceilings and externally in cladding and exposed structure gives the buildings a residential, suburban character which is enhanced by carefully landscaped courtyards and external garden areas. The pavilions also form a courtyard, avoiding the need to construct high institutional security walls.

Durability was of concern, therefore blackbutt timber was chosen for external cladding and exposed columns. Timber—new and recycled—was selected to provide warmth, texture, patterning, tactility and a non-institutional feel. The timber is durable, low maintenance, and has begun to age gracefully.

Seven variations of timber cladding are used, each with its own texture and appearance, varying from ship-lapped solid timber boards to vertical timber fins. This texture and grain gives variation to the buildings when viewed from a distance. The changes in texture accentuate and articulate the forms of the pavilions and break up the scale of the buildings.

Judges comments: The attention to detail is exceptional, clearly demonstrating an understanding of timber design. The buildings and surrounds are an elegant complement to their environment. The judges particularly commented on the understanding demonstrated by the design team of the health benefits of wood.

The Australian Timber Design Award is sponsored by WoodSolutions, our Platinum Sponsor.

Get ready for 2015: Entries for the 2015 Australian Timber Design Awards open on 10 February 2015. We look forward to another exciting year of entries celebrating the use of timber in projects by design profressionals. Please contact Jane Letteri, Awards Coordinator if you have any questions: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 02 8424 3702.
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