The Princess Margaret Cancer Center, a scientific research center and teaching hospital in downtown Toronto, features a basic Art Deco building with a modern addition above to reach its 18-story height. Over the course of several renovations on the ground floor to meet program requirements, the main entry space has been carved into a maze-like network of corridors beneath low ceilings with poor lighting conditions.
Beginning in 2014, Toronto-based companies Hariri Pontarini Architects And NORR Architects and Engineers He took on the Space Transformation project to reimagine the 40,000 square foot ground floor and redefine how patients and the institution interact. The design goal was to prioritize the patient experience – while emphasizing that the patient is the focus of his or her individual treatment plan, and that they are partners in their own care. The beautiful and upscale spaces empower patients and their families through the use of light, materials, landscape and art to create a calm and welcoming environment. The space is now fully accessible and easy to navigate.
The scheme for the new building adds about 20 percent of the public space, and includes a new blood lab, outpatient pharmacy, and patient education library, each with expanded waiting areas.
The project team was inspired by the feelings and comfort of entering a familiar and welcoming place, such as a home, hotel or airport lounge, which is designed to comfort the visitor and signals a dignified and supportive environment. Warm wood tones set this hospital setting apart from most. The shingle roof is the dominant architectural feature and an integral part of the overall aesthetic goal, but it was difficult to convince the hospital to allow such a feature. The design team conducted rigorous and frequent testing to ensure that the use of natural wood complied with foundation protocols on materials and surfaces, which helped gain approval.
Extensive research has also been applied to patient flow, specifically around the entrance, with a team analyzing pedestrian and traffic patterns. The result is a new entrance with two large circular doors and ramp sequence designed to accommodate 250,000 visits annually to the center.
Facility Name: Princess Margaret Cancer Center
Location: Toronto, Ontario
End date: December 2020
Owner: University Health Network
Total building area: 44,666 square feet.
Total construction cost: N/A
Cost / square meter. Feet: N/A
Architectural firm: Hariri Pontarini Architects and NORR Architects and Engineers
Interior Design: Hariri Pontarini Architects
General Contractor: Turner Construction Company
Engineering: MCW Consultants
Builder: Turner Construction Company