Burwood Hospital - Te Whare Toa Takitini

The Burwood Hospital redevelopment provides a clinically and financially sustainable health service to meet the future needs of Christchurch’s ageing community, with the aim of minimising recovery times and reducing repeat patient visits.  

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Project Details

Client Christchurch DHB and the Ministry of Health
Sector Health
Location Christchurch
Discipline Architecture and Interior Design
Status Completed 2016
Size 30,000 sqm
Construction Budget $215m
Design Collaborators Klein, Sheppard and Rout

Enhancing the patient experience

The integration of art and materials - unexpected in a hospital setting - elevates the patient experience. The entry atrium features a sculptural wooden staircase. In the foyer, a patterned wood ‘screen’ filters light and adds tactility to the space, alongside a sculpture on a plinth in the centre of the room, carved by local Māori artist Riki Manuel.

The staircase and this screen work together to add a sense of serenity to the foyer, and the wood is then carried through to other parts of the building—for instance, wood is integrated into reception desks in wards.

Model of Care

The design draws on biophilic principles, integrating nature for human and environmental wellbeing to promote patient recovery. The redevelopment houses 230 new inpatient beds and provides for increased older persons’ mental health beds.

The building also provides for gyms to support patient rehabilitation, a new radiology department (including MRI, XRay and fluoroscopy), a new outpatient department, and new entrances and back of house areas.


Design features include natural fresh air ventilation in wards for most of the year; lounge spaces for welcoming whanau and enhancing the social opportunities for long stay patients; dining rooms, access to courtyard gardens for therapeutic purposes and open plan workplace environments that the clinical and administrative staff have truly embraced.

The project has enabled CDHB to meet their objectives of providing improved patient and family services, efficient energy design and smarter co-location of services and facilities. For example a 22% reduction in falls was noted within 6 months of opening.

“The design teams adopted the key principles of ‘long life, loose fit' that allow spaces to be used for different functions. As a result, this facility will meet the needs of our community, especially our ageing population, for many years to come.”

Murray Cleverley, Canterbury DHB chair

Seismic Resilience

The building is designed to IL3 standard, which means it can be functioning within 10 to 15 minutes of a natural disaster. 

Pioneering seismic design utilised footings 3m deep in concrete sitting in a bed of sand and floating in a sea of gravel. Pre-cast concrete beams are held up by large steel supports. 

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2017 NZIA Local Branch Award - Winner - Public Architecture
2017 PCNZ Property Industry Awards - Excellence - Health and Medical Property
2017 NZ Commercial Project Awards - National Category Winner - Health
2017 NZ Commercial Project Awards - Gold - Health
2017 Best Awards - Gold - Healthcare
2017 Best Awards - Silver - Built Environment