Büro North worked in close collaboration with the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) to develop an evidence based design solution for its redevelopment.
Over 500 children between the ages of 5 and 17 were engaged in the development of themes for the RCH that would underpin the unique naming strategy for the hospital. Research relating to the navigational behaviour of both adults and children was referenced throughout the design process and lead to the development of a wayfinding system that integrated the naming of destinations with highly visible and describable landmarks.
As a direct result of this consultation, environmental themes and related characters replaced many of the clinical and technical terms that had been used to describe destinations and functions in the previous hospital. As a result journeys were created that were easy to describe and remember, using simple English that could be understood by adults and children alike.
Following this the theming strategy Buro North collaborated with local illustrator Jane Reiseger on the development of illustrations for the wayfinding signage to create an environment where as patients move through different floors of the hospital their journey takes them from ‘underground’ at the lower ground levels through to ‘sky’ on the top floor. Specific areas within each level are described in relation to an appropriate animal, for example, ‘Koala Ward’ exists on the ‘Tree Tops’ level.
Buro North developed these illustrations to create highly distinctive wayfinding graphics and over 5,000 signs, wall panels and essential landmarks for the large hospital site and introduced a playful and distinctive personality to the interior of the new Royal Children’s Hospital.
Based on Büro North’s own trials in the previous hospital, it was decided that the major journeys within the hospital had to be describable in no more than 3 simple steps. Büro North worked closely with the client and the design team to create an environment and develop processes that would deliver highly legible and simple journeys.
As a result the new wayfinding system has resulted in an estimated 45% reduction in journey times compared to the previous hospital.
Photography & text copyright of Büro North