Construction of two new hospitals at Australia’s Long Bay Correctional Complex marks a fresh approach to secure care, as well as a major investment in mental health facilities for the state of New South Wales.
The A$130m project in the Sydney suburb of Malabar comprises an 85-bed prison hospital and a 135-bed forensic hospital, providing care and treatment to mentally ill patients incarcerated for the safety of themselves and the community.
Creating Healing Environment
The guiding ambition behind the design was to do away with the typical, oppressive prison atmosphere and create a benign, healing environment better suited to addressing patients’ mental health issues and fostering rehabilitation. The challenge to the design team was to achieve this within the context of a high security facility; to produce a low-stress clinical environment without compromising the security measures essential to patient and public safety.
The forensic hospital showcases this approach, combining a hospital environment with a maximum-security perimeter. Since the facility allows prisoners who develop mental health issues to receive treatment without leaving the Long Bay complex, the design team had leeway to create a building that feels residential but maintains appropriate levels of security. It contains 91 beds for acute and sub-acute patients, 24 beds for sub-acute females and a 20-bed long-stay unit, plus a recreation and rehabilitation centre.
The prison hospital replaces an existing facility and includes medical and surgical wards, a facility for aged care and rehabilitation and a mental health unit, plus a hospital entry building and visitor’s centre, gatehouse and maximum-security perimeter wall. Outside the wall are parking facilities and a road.
Engineering Prison and Forensic Hospitals at Long Bay Correctional Complex
WSP provided hydraulic, security, audio visual and fire-safety design services to the project, which was delivered through a public private partnership.
We provided all engineering building services, including environmentally sustainable design. Our team took a holistic approach, with a strong emphasis on improved wellness and indoor environment quality. The design includes chilled beam technology, no recirculation of air, rainwater collection, solar water heating and future capacity for cogeneration.