Architect Fiona Dunin brings to you a space distinguished through its X-ray vision _ Surgeons’ Room

Architecture Interior
Project Credits:
Project Name: Surgeon’s Room
Client: Knox Orthopaedic Group
Project Location: Melbourne, Australia
Architect: F M D Architects
Project Completion: 2014
Project Team: Fiona Dunin Andrew Carija, Robert Kolak, Owen Castley
Builder: Malin Constructions P/L
Structural Engineer: Macleod Consulting P/L
Services Engineer: BRT Consulting P/L
Building Surveyor: Wilsmore Nelson Group P/L
Town Planner: Urbis P/L
Landscape Architect: Katherine Rekaris
Photographer: John Gollings. 

Adjacent to Knox Hospital in Melbourne, Australia is the Knox Orthopaedic Group holding a series of consulting rooms. The main entry lies through the Knox hospital car park while the rear entry is within a residential street.


“We’ve worked on a number of projects with this client, including renovating his house. He knew that an architect could deliver more than a box, irrespective of whether it’s a domestic or commercial project,” Dunin says.

The brief called for the renovation and extension of the existing administration spaces and reception area. In addition to this, two more consulting rooms were to be designed as well.

The programme developed includes consulting rooms for surgeons, with a communal hot desk touch down area for post consultation work. The administration office houses the support staff, a spacious kitchen and an outdoor that serves as an ideal break-out space for the team during lunch and post working hours.


The reception functions not only as a waiting area but also as a workshop space for group mindfulness classes which by itself plays a crucial role in the recovery process for all patients.


“Being able to open windows and get great cross-ventilation is paramount; as are unimpeded views of the garden,” Dunin says. “The hours can be long for surgeons, and sometimes it’s the simple things, like light and natural ventilation, that are forgotten.”

The prime objective of the design was to maximise the acess to natural light and ventilation and develop a visual connectivity between the garden areas and workspaces. The once internalised spaces have now been opened out to the exteriors with light naturally oozing into every nook and corner. The structure’s internal fabric reflects a significant reduction on the reliance for artificial light and ventilation. The positive aura generated within these walls on account of its spatial planning not only keeps the staff mentally relaxed but contributes immensely towards their physical well being likewise. This system has nullified the services cost as well.


Orthopaedics and architecture share a symbiotic relationship. The tools, process and language of an orthopaedic surgeon are aligned with the ways of a carpenter. Not only this, architectural design and the design of prosthetics and surgical techniques coupled with 3D modelling and printing, a common practice in their R & D processes moreover brings them on parallel terms.


The design approach was to interpret these parallels in a built form. The layered facade highlights these very tools, prosthetics and the human frame. The architectural language developed, creates an interplay between the multi dimensional qualities of an X-ray which remains as one of the essential analytical tool of the surgeon. The facade replicates the thinness of an X-ray sheet while defining a depth through layering film, steel and recycled plastic forms. The interiors being backlit, mimics the visual qualities of the X-ray on a lightbox.


The interior spaces further contribute towards the 3 dimensional qualities and interplay of light achieved by the facade. The recycled plastic acoustic panelling reinforces the shadows cast by the facade thereby extending the virtuality of an X-ray within the structures as well.



The layered plywood block  bears a carving of the prosthetics seen in the facade. In this way, the reception desk too holds a resemblance to 3 dimensional qualities of the external facade.



The new extension is highly sculptural while addressing the pragmatic requirements of the consulting rooms.

The overall arrangement for the Surgeon’s Room has not only given it a greater sense of identity but has also maintained the perfect level privacy together with diffusing northern light.








17Fiona Dunin


– Rhea Fernandes ,Volume Zero.
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