Australia New Zealand, Buildings and Places, Design, Healthcare

Codey Lyon is our newly appointed Technical Director, Health Sector Lead for our Buildings + Places business line in Victoria and South Australia. She brings a wealth of salutogenic health experience in designing supportive health environments and her design-focused approach, integrating her clinical and architectural backgrounds to embed engineering, is critical to achieving wellness outcomes in health projects.

We sat down with Codey to get an insight into her passion and approach to healthcare design.

What inspired you to join the industry?

The driving force that led me to embrace this industry was my dad’s influence. He was a passionate architect with a love of ‘making’. He loved his job of creating meaningful places, the comradery of working with a team and the physicality of the building process. Witnessing this love and dedication to his profession left an indelible mark on all his kids through dinner table conversations.

I love the diversity of our work, the ‘many hands’ aspects, and the boundless opportunities for creative problem-solving. The human aspects of our profession, working with diverse individuals and projects we design that impact lives, fill me with immense purpose and joy.

Now, at AECOM as Technical Director and Health Sector Lead for Buildings and Places in Victoria and South Australia, I blend my passion for architecture and clinical experience to embed engineering to achieve wellness outcomes in health projects. I am endlessly inspired by the transformative power of our field and continue to cherish my dad’s legacy. I am committed to crafting spaces that push the boundaries of design and leave positive imprints on the lives of those they serve.

How does your work positively impact the clients and communities we serve?

I love working in the health sector and am inspired by the ability to blend evidence-based design into spaces that make people feel good about being in them. As designers and engineers, how we approach projects has a direct and measurable effect on the people who use our buildings.

I find immense satisfaction in designing for wellness and crafting environments that genuinely resonate with people’s wellbeing. Our work touches lives, nurtures healing and empowers communities. In my commitment to serving our clients and communities, I acknowledge the responsibility to deliver design excellence and integrate evidence-based salutogenic outcomes to foster positive experiences for all users. Collaborating closely with health services, I diligently seek to understand their unique objectives, championing engineering as a critical design stream in pursuit of wellbeing outcomes.

How will your new role change the way AECOM delivers health projects?

As I step into this role, I see my appointment as a positive catalyst for improving how AECOM delivers health projects. I think architects and engineers are trained to solve problems in different ways. The amalgamation of these different perspectives we bring to projects will foster more holistic solutions and achieve a broader range of outcomes — particularly from a humanistic, experiential perspective.

Buildings are not just a kit of parts that are built in a sequence — they are for people. Our approach will be rooted in co-designing outcomes with health services, stakeholders, end users and the community. By considering their wants, needs, dreams and visions, our projects will be better.

Taking on this role with AECOM opens the door to building and fostering transformative relationships with our clients. It allows us to specialise in co-designed, evidence-based outcomes and leverage this to forge architectural partnerships to deliver thought-leading built outcomes. I believe my fluency in health planning and architectural language and my ability to understand the drivers from this perspective equips us with a unique advantage to deliver a different collaborative model by which we can optimise whole-of-project outcomes.

Our collective commitment to delivering outstanding results will ensure we deliver spaces that nourish and enrich the lives of those they serve.

What are the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry?

As we face challenges in our industry, I believe the key to our success lies in designing first-class outcomes amidst an economically uncertain market. This means we need to demonstrate and articulate value for money in our projects. But for me, a well-designed building doesn’t cost more than a poorly designed one — it just means we need to be more considerate about how and where we spend money. Achieving great outcomes requires a holistic approach encompassing the early design setting, processes and methodology, together with client engagement. By carefully considering every aspect, we can deliver outcomes that are nothing short of fabulous, leaving a profound impact on all who experience them.

As we navigate the changing landscape, we cannot keep investing in new hospitals. We must seek innovative solutions to support contemporary models of care. Repurposing complex brownfield spaces offers immense opportunities to meet this challenge. Being experts in understanding and unpicking as-built conditions becomes essential, enabling us to discern what is feasible within the given opportunities and constraints.

I am excited about how our team will embrace creativity, collaboration, and adaptability to deliver exceptional solutions for our clients and communities.

What excites you about the future of the industry?

What excites me most about the future of our practice and industry is the commitment to co-design, First Nations engagement and evidence-based design. I love that buildings are being designed together with the voices of place and those who will ultimately end up using them. This approach grants a new dimension of nuance and achieves a more thoughtful outcome due to this engagement.

The sense of ‘ownership’ of these buildings is no longer the purview of a select few but rather a community, which is very exciting to be a part of. Being part of this shift in the industry is inspiring as our projects serve as a vehicle for inclusivity and collective empowerment.

Share a piece of career advice.

Architecture and engineering are a team sport. The buildings we deliver have been made by many hands working together. It is essential to recognise the contributions of everyone in the outcomes we achieve.

Originally published Sep 22, 2023

Author: Codey Lyon