The Whitty Building Clinical School redevelopment contributes to a sustainable built environment by adapting an existing 1911 hospital building to create a new state-of-the-art clinical teaching facility.

The project celebrates original environmental elements of the Hall and Dods-designed hospital, including deep, shaded verandahs characteristic of nightingale-designed hospitals of its time, coupled with the mass masonry wall construction, both original elements optimise weather protection and thermal mass responsive in Queensland's subtropical climate.

The Whitty Building concealed a number of challenges for the design team including the preservation of the heritage-listed building fabric whilst weaving contemporary building services throughout to transform the building into a fit for purpose tertiary teaching facility. Other challenges included the insertion of a communal public space to create a campus 'hub', whilst creating all-weather protection, natural daylight and ventilation modes that essentially created the lungs of the adapted building.

The redevelopment conserves the original sustainable design elements of original 1911 architect's design including deep verandahs lining the original hospital wings and thermal mass of original masonry structure.

The introduction of a 'Hub' is a direct response to the local climatic conditions, whilst maintaining the original courtyard and informal activation of the space between the two heritage wings.

External shading, high performance glazing and a focus on passive air movement to provide comfort in warmer months, ensures formal and informal teaching and learning can occur throughout the building and under natural conditions. Thermal analysis was undertaken to assess the comfort of the glazed 'Hub' and with strategic shading and the ceiling fans combined with the operable louvred facades, allowed for a significant reduction to the 'Hub' mechanical extraction system.

The 'Hub' within the Whitty building is an environment for occupants that morphs between the internal formal learning environments and the external environment. By providing a space that maintains visual connectivity with the external environment and natural ventilation for thermal comfort, occupants can optimise the 'Hub' for different learning modes, socialising, re-charging and revitalising in all weather conditions.

The entire building was recycled. Preservative practice was designed into the buildings redevelopment by engaging with expert historical masonry experts to uncover and restore original 1911 brickwork. Original windows and doors were preserved and repaired where ever possible. Original press metal ceilings were preserved and repaired where possible throughout. Original timber floor boards were uncovered and restored from many years of neglect by continual build of underlays and applied surfaces. Original feature lighting and fire places were restored where possible. Many key historical places within the building were rebuilt near original to create a historical; narrative that public may visit.


  • Adaption and conservation of existing 1911 hospital to create state-of-the-art clinical teaching facility
  • Conservation of original heritage nightingale-designed hospital wards adapted for contemporary clinical teaching
  • Contemporary glazed intervention, the "Hub', inserted to provide linkages and all-weather use of courtyard space between heritage wings
  • The 'Hub' operates in natural, mixed mode operations via high and low louvres and ceiling fans linked to Building Management System and advanced weather station that monitors and adapts the 'Hub' subject to rain and wind speed/direction
  • The 'Hub' is the lungs of the Clinical School providing an all-weather, all-purpose natural environment that facilitates collegiate learning and social spaces