spatial design

Workshopping Facility Refurbishments

This project focussed on improving a waiting area at the Cancer and Blood service at Auckland City Hospital. The role of the DHW Lab was to facilitate design workshops with clinical stakeholders and Facilities, with a view to develop refurbishment options to improve the experience for patients and families. Building on existing patient research (carried out by the DHW Lab and Performance Improvement) at the Auckland DHB, patients and families had the opportunity to vote and provide feedback on design concepts.


The focus of the first workshop was to establish a shared understanding of the current waiting room experience, in order to distil a set of guiding design principles for the refurbishment. Together with the patient feedback already gathered, we compiled a set of ‘how might we’ statements. These provocations acted as a ‘design brief’ for translating users needs into concepts.


Using scale models and representative furniture blocks, the second workshop began to bring form to the design principles established in first workshop. Participants experimented with furniture layouts using a scale model—discussing how different configurations would improve the room’s function and the patient experience. 

waiting room model.jpg

In a subsequent activity, the DHW Lab team sourced a range of inspiration images around the themes of: privacy, nature, furniture, and activities/interactions. We asked each other, 'which of these examples might be suitable references for this environment?' Using the models as a basis, the two groups annotated their concepts with visuals and notes. At the conclusion of the workshop, two layouts were presented to the public to provide feedback on.

top view model.jpg

The final workshop moved beyond function and layout to explore how the space should look and feel, based on this session the DHW Lab put together a final set of design recommendations to be taken forward by Facilities.  

Concept A render_colour exploration.jpg





Spatial Design Presentations

As part of the work to help establish a clear front door for the hospital, the lab extended an opportunity for 3rd year spatial design students from AUT University to propose their views on a hospital 'welcome.'Under the guidance of designer and lecturer Andrew Douglas, the group worked on concepts ranging from infrastructural changes to Park road and hospital facilities, to way finding installations and services. Earlier this week, the students presented their final work to a panel in the Lab space with some great results.

Well done to all the students for wrestling with such a complex design challenge and pushing the boundaries of what a strong 'front door' should represent.

Stay tuned for more images of their work to come.

crit 2


TaewooKatie Jun Chromline Katherine

Above renders: Taewoo, Katie and Katherine

Pharmacy Redesign


The main driver behind the Auckland City Hospital Pharmacy redesign is taking the current retail gift shop focus, and making it a health and wellbeing service, decreasing wait times for prescriptions, and providing more nutritional health-based  products. A large part of this redesign is a cost-effective 'quick win'. This is seeing what we can accomplish now to improve the pharmacy's functionality, and later inform decision making around a future-proposal for a brand new pharmacy. 

Using co-design, the team have been incorporating the pharmacy staff in the design process using a variety of tools to engage them in the process.

Pharmacy WIP 7
Pharmacy WIP 7
Pharmacy WIP 1-2
Pharmacy WIP 1-2

Aspirational Planning: Grafton Campus

30 years into the future what will the hospital look like? What will be the main access points to the campus and should cars or pedestrians take priority? In what ways can we strengthen links with Auckland Domain? Recently, Architect and AUT Spatial Design HOD Andrew Douglas led a day long workshop exploring options for the Grafton campus site plan. The exercise walked through a number of site analysis visits, researching the history of the hospital campus and sketching and mapping on tracing paper. At the end of the day, the conceptual ideas were proposed to the General Manager of Facilities and Development, to be discussed along side the current Grafton Master plan.

Take a look at few photos from the day:


Header master planning


Level 4 Redesign - Hana Stay

A significant part of the DHW Lab, is providing students with real projects to work on in the hospital context.  Third year student Hana Stay from AUT spatial design has been working with the performance improvement team to develop there office area on Level 4 of the support building. Take a look at some of the images of her work below, and stay tuned for how this project develops going forward... HANA's Renders