Wallan Veterinary Hospital in regional Victoria is an efficient and elegant building that successfully refreshes the traditional vet hospital typology. The 24-hour facility, open seven days a week, needed an immediately identifiable, strong street presence, yet still had to be respectful of its residential context. 

The client’s brief called for a state-of-the-art facility that comfortably accommodates a range of programmatic requirements while also addressing the site’s unique constraints.  The design solution was to raise the single-level building on a recessive masonry base and set it back from the street. In doing so, flooding issues were mitigated on a challenging site that slopes down towards a creek at the rear of the property.

Three box-like volumes rationalise the plan and reflect the building’s multiple uses. The public zone is located at the front with animal wards to the side. The staff-only and operational areas are the heart of the building and occupy the largest amount of floor space. Each volume breathes with ample cross ventilation allowed by louvred windows and intersecting corridors that punctuate the double fa├žade. 

The result is a calming, airy interior with a sense of flow and connection between zones. Uniformly spaced timber battens wrap the building on the north, east and west elevations and provide effective sun-shading. 

Spotted Gum cladding visually unifies the building to create a singular cohesive form. This second skin is the facility’s defining feature and also emphasises the site’s fall, investing the project with a strong connection to place. 

About the Awards

The Sustainability Awards is Australia’s longest running and most prestigious awards program dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating excellence in sustainable design and architecture. Nominations received are shortlisted and then winners for each category are announced at a five-star Gala evening hosted this year at the Star, Sydney on 11 October 2018. The daytime event Sustainability Live is a CPD-endorsed education event where industry experts present a range of topics to educate, inform and ignite learning.

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