Located in the “land down under,” Billard Leece Partnership, or BLP, is a multidisciplinary, award-winning studio in the architecture and planning industry. Headquartered in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, BLP delivers projects across various specialities – including but not limited to – urban design, interiors, health, education, science, technology, aged care and communities, and workplace and residential sectors. Founded in 1995, it continues to “deliver the complex, simply.” BLP’s approach consists of creating custom designs coupled with clarity, context, and sustainability. They follow a fivefold core values structure for their public and private sector clients, preaching partnership, integrity, innovation, creativity, and passion. Let us review 15 projects by Billard Leece Partnership – the global leaders promoting social and cultural impacts for a healthier society.
BLP’s Tonya Hinde firmly believes that healthcare design teaches you that you are just one person, and in fact, it’s not about you. The more designers that can get out of their own headspace and into others’, the better life will be (Arundell, 2017). On that note, let us begin with BLP’s healthcare architecture projects, followed by redevelopment architecture, and conclude with the education sector.
1. Orygen & OYH Parkville
Recognized as having the Best Mental Health Design by the European Healthcare Design Awards, Orygen and OYH Parkville is a state-of-the-art healthcare facility in Parkville, Australia, directed at the mental well-being of youths. Spanning three stories and following an open plan organization, this gender-neutral facility is nestled into the slope of the site. Dissipating a nature and nurture theme, Orygen consists of a central courtyard surrounded by a series of pavilions. The project palette is a combination of warm and neutral tones, timber finishes, and an abundance of greenery and sunlight.
“There was a conscious effort to bring the natural beauty of the surroundings into the structure. We wanted to avoid the ‘inside versus outside’ scenario and create lots of open spaces for walking and talking. The stairways are wide enough for two people to comfortably walk together on them. Even the consulting rooms have outside decks so people have the ability to find space to debrief, settle or reflect on what’s been happening,” says project Design Lead and BLP Principal Tonya Hinde (Architecture & Design, 2021).
2. Susan Wakil Health Building
Designed in partnership with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, this project is located at the intersection of two waterways in Australia and embodies multiple health science universities into one health hub – the Susan Wakil Health Building. The ‘Building’ sits on a sandstone podium, surrounded by landscape. The main entry is a triple-height space, followed by grand vertical circulation that unifies the interiors and programs of the building. The glass façade allows for ample sunlight, and the façade treatment delineates the project into two masses. While the lower mass is simply expressed as a glazing system, the upper mass which includes teaching and working spaces is cladded with a screen in a repetitive pattern.
To curb the growing demands in one of the busiest emergency departments of Victoria, Australia, BLP was signed onto the expansion for the Austin Hospital. This refurbishment has allowed the department to preach reduced waiting periods and prompt, personalized care to their patients. Comprised of twenty-four bed units, twenty are allotted for short stay observation, and four are provided for psychiatric assessment and planning. The façade mimics urgency and dynamism with the use of chevrons and red panels. The interiors are neutral-toned, with artificial grass moments and natural light.
4. Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital
The Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital or the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital is a redevelopment project in Wagga Wagga, Australia. It is regarded as the largest building design in the city. The redevelopment allowed the healthcare facility the ability to accommodate more patients at that time and in future scenarios. BLP’s design approach was sustainable and contextual. As a result, they aimed to maintain the consistency of the facilities’ connection to the community. Key aspects of this are notable in their selection of materials and integration of nature. “The local landscape, river and vegetation have been referenced within the public spaces.” Additional design decisions include the inclusion of a “public forecourt, arcade, and significant entry-space” (Bell, n.d.).
5. Mornington Centre, Stage 2
Commissioned by Peninsula Health, BLP has undertaken the ‘Sub-Acute’ project – the second stage for the Mornington Centre masterplan development. The facility promotes the healthcare of the aged and consists of thirty-bed units for an inpatient ward. Set in a suburban coastal surrounding in Mornington, Australia, the project uses organic materials that suggest similarities to coastal dwellings. Almost the entire building is clad in white cypress timber, with some facades composed of polychrome brick. The interiors are made up of timber ceilings and lining boards. The project is designed in a manner that allows access to the courtyard from both levels of the building.
6. North Shore Health Hub
BLP was employed by Roberts Co Group to create a healthcare facility in St Leonards, Australia. Completed recently in 2021, the North Shore Health Hub (NSHH) is a mixed-use health center that creatively redesigns the existing hospital site whilst incorporating sustainability and creating connections to the site. In addition to various healthcare facilities, NSHH also includes an educational and research sector. The building design consists of two masses – one lifted through the use of columns, and the other resting on a podium. The lower level is commercialized and thus activated. This coupling of healthcare with commercial activities creates a potential for the future flexibility of programs. There is also an outdoor seating space with some landscape elements in between the two masses.
7. UnitingCare ReGen AOD Withdrawal Center
Aimed primarily at mothers experiencing withdrawal and participating in recovery, BLP has designed the UnitingCare ReGen as an addition to an existing withdrawal center. It provides them with a supportive environment that they can benefit from, without isolating themselves from their children. The UnitingCare ReGen in Ivanhoe, Australia, is a single-story facility to maintain coherence with the scale of its surroundings. It has brick facades with timber interiors, full-length glazed entrances, integration of greenery and natural light, and garden views. ReGen aims to establish a homely environment through private bedrooms and gathering spaces for mothers and their offspring where they can undergo uninterrupted healing.
8. Nexus Health GP Super Clinic
BLP’s Nexus Health Super Clinic was designed to serve as a landmark for the Wallan community in Australia. The architecture largely consists of glazing which is shaded by timber fins. This system forms the façade and provokes dynamism due to the diagonal arrangements of the fins that create interesting silhouettes during the day. The ground level of the facility is comprised of social spaces which serve as extensions of the landscape design outside. Lastly, the project is highly sustainable due to the selection of timber, inclusion of “natural ventilation through public spaces, controlled use of natural light and orientation, and rainwater recycling” (Architecture & Design, 2014).
9. St Vincent’s Private Hospital Maternity Suites
One of the additions during the expansion of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Australia was maternity suites. BLP designed six units – considerably bigger than the original room sizes – with neutral, earthy tones that prompt a “boutique hotel aesthetic.” The new suite design includes a distinct dining area in addition to a resting area for the mother and her partner. The acoustics of the unit was also amended by “increasing the acoustic performance of the walls and ceilings and introducing more soft furnishings, such as upholstered furniture, within the room to help with sound absorption” (Tan, n.d.). The furniture is placed methodically to maximize views for the users, whilst maintaining privacy for the mother, child, and family.
Redevelopments and Refurbishments
10. Grand Hyatt Hotel Melbourne
Commissioned by the Grand Hotel Management Limited (GHG) to reimagine the 1980s façade of Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, BLP created an insert that uplifts “Melbourne’s most intact historic streetscape.” The present-day iteration features a modernized version of a traditional, ancient Roman entrance. The redefined entrance consists of grand columns supporting a band, mimicking the columns and cornice configuration of Romans. The façade is also treated with translucent, stainless-steel mesh, while the podium incorporates truncated pyramid-resembling repetitions. Lastly, this commission allowed the integration of high-end retail and commercial spaces at the podium level.
11. Stokes Penola Redevelopment
Located in Preston, Victoria, BLP’s Stokes Penola was created for the Department of Health and Human Services. It is a social housing project for the redevelopment of twenty-six medium-density housing units. Completed in 2018, the project adopts the existing amenities, transportation networks, and activity centers. Stokes Penola consists of two buildings – three-story and four-story – constructed with dark and light-toned steel panels. The smaller building is accompanied by on-grade parking, while the four-story is with basement parking. The apartment units offer two-bedroom and one-bedroom configurations.
Advocating efficiency and sustainability, the redevelopment was constructed with “lightweight timber construction” and “long span engineered joists with a continuous steel web” to ease the installation of the core. Consequently, the structure was consolidated and braced vertically with all the apartments by means of “stacking” (Bell, n.d.).
12. La Trobe University Student Residence Centre
La Trobe is a public research university in Melbourne, Australia. For the Bendigo campus, BLP was chosen to design a residence center for student accommodation. The façades depict modernity and sleekness through their dark exterior consisting of metal, brick, and glass. The building massing also uses dark metal mesh panels on the façade, as a shading structure for the walkways, and as railing systems. The location of this residence center allows for views of the city, as well as Australian bushlands. “Cool, understated and quietly commanding, the new center provides the perfect place for students and staff to watch the world go by – or simply hang out” (Arundell, n.d.).
13. University Workplace Pilot
Located in Sydney, an Australian institution sought to breathe new life into its university workspaces. BLP was employed for the first phase of this revitalization process. While a traditional working model consists of individual programmed spaces, the new model seeks to substitute hierarchy with adaptability, connectivity, and participation. The interiors are soft, warm, and minimal, with a variety of textures. Following a palette with tones of blues and greys complements the application of “terracotta accents.” There is also a simple, triangular patterning applied to some of the surfaces.
14. Picton High School
Located in Picton, Australia, the redevelopment project of Picton High School was commissioned by the School Infrastructure of New South Wales to BLP. The context follows a stepped topography, and this is used to create a multi-level design with multiple entry points and the possibility of outdoor learning on all levels. The lower level of terrain features the “central student hub.” Furthermore, the primary entry point was redefined to be more public and accompanied by an arrival court. This state-of-the-art facility seeks to invert the traditional classroom model and redefine it as a student-centered space.
15. Wangi Wangi Public School
The Wangi Wangi Public School, Australia is a two-story structure made up of grey concrete bricks and a playful, colored louver system. The NSW Schools Infrastructure signed BLP to refurbish the Wangi Wangi Public School and create an innovative learning environment. Completed in 2020, the new design includes collaborative learning areas equipped with improved teaching technologies, a new dining space, and new facilities for faculty and staff. Additionally, the main hall of the school was upgraded to integrate a permanent space for special learning programs.
- Architecture & Design. (2014). Construction & Architecture News. [online] Available at: https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/nexus-health-super-clinic-by-blp-crafts-a-timber-f.
- Architecture & Design. (2021). Orygen and OYH Parkville | Billard Leece Partnership. [online] Available at: https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/projects/health-aged-care/orygen-and-oyh-parkville-blp.
- Arundell, C. (n.d.). High Distinction: La Trobe University Student Residence Centre. [online] Billard Leece Partnership. Available at: https://www.blp.com.au/high-distinction-la-trobe-university-student-residence-centre/.
- Arundell, C. (2017). Tonya Hinde on ‘The Creativity of Caring’. [online] Billard Leece Partnership. Available at: https://www.blp.com.au/creativityofcaring/.
- Bell, A. (n.d.). Stokes Penola Redevelopment. [online] Billard Leece Partnership. Available at: https://www.blp.com.au/portfolio/stokes-penola-redevelopment/.
- Bell, A. (n.d.). Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital. [online] Billard Leece Partnership. Available at: https://www.blp.com.au/portfolio/wagga-wagga-rural-referral-hospital-redevelopment/.
- Billard Leece Partnership (n.d.). [online] Billard Leece Partnership. Available at: https://www.blp.com.au/.
- Tan, L. (n.d.). St Vincent’s Private Hospital Maternity Suites. [online] Billard Leece Partnership. Available at: https://www.blp.com.au/portfolio/st-vincents-private-hospital-maternity-suites/.