Matt Coggan is a Landscape Architect with TURF Design Studio who have been engaged to develop the landscaping strategy for the RPA Redevelopment

What has Turf been engaged to do for the RPA Redevelopment?
We are responsible for the external areas of the hospital, and greening throughout the building

How will Turf enhance the landscape of RPA Hospital?
The redevelopment will provide better access to quality landscape spaces, making connections with nature an integral part of the everyday hospital experience. Major entries and central public areas of the hospital are a keyfocus to ensure equitable access to this amenity.

What makes RPA Hospital unique from a landscape lens?
The hospital site has a rich history, and has evolved through various phases of major development. Understanding and celebrating the layers of history – both Indigenous and European – has been one of the more important aspects of the design approach.

What makes you excited to do the work you do?
Quality landscapes make a significant contribution to health and well-being, and in a hospital environment can greatly assist with recovery. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing people enjoy a place that you helped create.

How will the natural landscape be celebrated throughout the new building?
Our design makes the natural landscape a feature of the everyday experience. From the hospital entries, along the corridors, and into the hospital rooms, access to the outdoors and views of the landscape are maximised throughout.

What new landscape designs will be included as part of the redevelopment?
The design provides many more places for people to dwell in the landscape. The entries and places within the hospital have a range of new seating areas. They are designed to accommodate a range of needs; from individuals looking for quiet respite, to larger cultural gatherings. These new spaces are all connected through the hospital by a rationalised floor plan that improves wayfinding. From a planting character perspective, we are retaining the eclectic mixes of native and exotic species in established gardens (such as the Nurses Courtyard), and new works are focused on a native planting palette that features traditional food and medicinal species. Another exciting layer is the public art. We are currently exploring a range of public art opportunities that will feature in key areas, and tell unique stories of people and place.

What is one of the most important aspects of your role?
The most important aspect of our role is making a positive contribution to health and well-being of the staff, patients, and visitors to the hospital. This is achieved by creating safe and comfortable spaces that have high amenity. Amenity is achieved through legible wayfinding, planting that changes with the seasons, and a diversity of spaces for people to dwell.

What is the importance of reimagining landscape through Connection with Country?
Connection with Country is important on a number of levels. From an environmental perspective, all people benefit from a Country-led approach. This includes plant selections that are resilient to the local climate, support local native fauna, and respond to the seasons with flower and foliage colour. A welcoming environment that recognises the importance of cultural beliefs and practices will maximise engagement with health services. Indigenous cultures have a particular connection with outdoor spaces, and co-design with the community is key to achieving the outcomes they desire.

What are three words your family would use to describe you?
I just asked my daughter… she gave me Calm, Funny, Generous!

What’s your favourite song to get you pumped for work?
Empire of the Sun, ‘Alive’

Last great TV show or movie you watched?
I’m really into the ‘Alone’ series on SBS. The Dark Emu Story on ABC was really great also.

If you’re cooking dinner, what will everyone be eating?
Something vegetarian! Mexican or mushroom burgers are a couple of favourites.