Working with the team at Monash Children’s Hospital and a group of international artists and animators, we have brought to life a concept that will instill hope, joy, and a touch of magic in the hospital experience for many sick or injured children and their families.
A Savannah theme was conceptualised, anchored by a giant, magical baobab tree. At four levels in height (approx. 25m), the trees provide spaces to play, interact and seek quiet moments. Themed around the concept of the African Savannah, they respond to movement and touch with light and sound, and transition in tone from day to night and throughout the seasons.
Our role as architects was to create the spaces that would support the needs of users and the programmatic brief. We started by creating zones within each level of the 25m tree structure, the most interactive and vibrant being at ground level, moving up to the quietest space cocooned at the canopy.
The ground level was designed for physical play with a slide and swing, an interactive pond, animal prints to step in and follow, turtle shells to crawl in, sound horns that mimicked the cries of animals, and a knot within the tree itself, that when pushed would send a wish spiralling up the trunk to the heavens in a trail of lights.
The next two levels incorporated tactile environments with drumming, games, and activities, while the top canopy level with animal-shaped clouds was furnished with soft, cosy seating and textiles, providing quiet spaces to read and dream.