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Humber River Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Honored in Modern Healthcare Design Awards

Humber River Hospital and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi honored by Modern Healthcare for design that advances innovation and care.

HDR’s Humber River Hospital in Toronto and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi were both honored this year in Modern Healthcare magazine’s prestigious 31st Annual Design Awards. Out of 74 entries, only five winners were named in this awards program, recognizing excellence in the design and planning of new and remodeled healthcare facilities.

Humber River Hospital was awarded the Gold Award, the top prize in the competition. The facility was praised by judges for its inviting design, incredible operational efficiency, and the successful balance between technology savvy and human touch.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi won the Bronze Award. Judges cited the hospital’s remarkable adaptation of esthetics, culture and the latest in healthcare innovations and energy efficiency to a physical environment in which high temperatures for July and August average 108 degrees.

The 31st Annual Design Awards are featured in a fall issue of Modern Healthcare.



Mulgrave Senior School wins 2016 A4LE Pinnacle Award

Designed by HDR | CEI Architecture, the recent addition to Mulgrave School in West Vancouver features a mix of collaborative, engaging and sustainable educational spaces.

The Association of Learning Environments (A4LE), Pacific Northwest Region Pinnacle Award recognizes the most outstanding recent educational facility among submissions from Northwest U.S. and Canada.

The new Mulgrave Senior School in West Vancouver, BC, designed by Vancouver’s HDR | CEI Architecture, has been honoured with the 2016 Pinnacle Award from the Association of Learning Environments, Pacific Northwest Region.

The annual award is the highest honour given by the chapter, recognizing facilities that provide outstanding learning environments for students. The award was selected based on the evaluation of a facility’s learning environment, physical environment and capacity for community integration.

A jury comprised of education and design professionals lauded Mulgrave for its strength in all three categories.

“Mulgrave Senior School displays many of the principles of the 21st Century Learning methodology—both learning and teaching,” said Judy Shoemaker, past president and board member of the Association for Learning Environments, Pacific Northwest Region.

“The facility scored very highly in the learning environment criteria by providing a variety of open, collaborative and stimulating educational spaces,” Shoemaker added.

Bright and aesthetically engaging design

The 42,000-square-foot Senior School includes a bright and spacious new main entrance atrium, a “Great Hall” dining room, a roof garden with an outdoor theatre space, art exhibition area, and innovative module-based approach to classrooms.

“We are honoured that our project has been recognized with this award,” said Rod Windjack, senior vice president with HDR | CEI and principal on the project.

“It was designed to achieve a university campus feel within a secondary school context, and we incorporated many features to emphasize learning and engagement inside and outside the classroom,” Windjack added.

Flexible classrooms and stimulating social spaces

The classrooms at Mulgrave Senior School support various learning styles through flexible configurations, with smaller collaborative areas and larger group spaces that are responsive to a variety of pedagogical styles. Learning spaces are equipped with flatscreen monitors, projection screens and projectors to facilitate flexible instruction and learning.

Wide, non-linear arteries—rather than straight corridors—surrounded by niches and nooks offer a number of options for students to collaborate, talk, relax or work independently in safe, supervise-able spaces.

Shoemaker noted: “The variety and flexibility for learning and engagement was really well met. If methods of learning and pedagogy shift over time, Mulgrave School can be easily reconfigured.”

Many sustainable features

A fully accessible green roof provides stormwater retention and roof insulation, and serves as an outdoor play area and learning space. The green roof creates green space in what was previously a hard surface.

A low-profile, tiered amphitheatre creates seating that looks onto a temporary stage location with a spectacular background view of Burrard Inlet and beyond. Extensive natural light, passive ventilation and solar hot water heating provide further sustainable elements along with a comfortable interior environment.



When Social Media Shifts Your Perspective: or, How I Became a Social Media Convert

By Mary Chow, Community Recreation Sector Leader

I’ve seen the influence of social media; the power to connect to a world larger than immediate family members, friends and acquaintances. Last year I saw my 13 year olds Instagram account reach over 800 followers within months. At the time, his entire elementary school didn’t even have 500 students. So how could he know 800 people?

I’ve seen a change in expectations from our community and recreation clients; that our projects meet the needs of the entire community, not just of a limited demographic. I’ve seen social media help us achieve this  – we’ve even changed building programs and designs because of it.

I can’t see it stopping there. Facebook has 1.2 billion active users, and Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Youtube are all major players in brand outreach. As we continue to leverage social media to connect with community members, it’s made me wonder: what’s next?

When writing about the biggest social media trends for 2016, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes forecasted that social video would become ever more prevalent and that we would begin to see more 360 video. And he’s right. Video has become ubiquitous. I know because I now click on more videos in my newsfeed than I do articles.

For architecture, a photograph is a still image capturing one moment in time. Video, on the other hand, can weave a story through movement through spaces. Video in architecture has already permeated social media through fly-throughs, professionally-filmed promotional videos, and interviews with building users, but we still haven’t fully tapped the potential of the medium.

So I put the challenge out to my media savvy son (the one with the over 800 Instagram followers who has since abandoned Instagram to build his YouTube following). I brought him to our recently completed City Centre Community Centre in Richmond, BC and asked him to make a video of what he felt the facility was all about. I didn’t give him much more instruction then that. The result is a showcase from the perspective of one individual. It’s a work in progress.

To continue the experiment I recruited Riley, one of our recreation sector team members to create a separate video interpretation of the same facility. I wondered how different individuals from different age brackets, backgrounds and experiences would perceive the same spaces. The two videos tell a different story even though the spaces are the same.

The results are striking because the possibilities are so evident. A few hours of work and a story is told. Architects love the stark, pristine nature of their work but our community buildings are all about the people and how they inhabit and use the space. What better way of showcasing our projects?

I imagine that pretty soon we’ll all be making videos all the time. But as with every craft, it will always be about the quality of the spaces and the storyteller that will set us apart.

Looking for more posts like this? Check out HDR’s blog, BLiNK, written by employees at HDR. Our bloggers represent offices from around the world and write about topics of importance to the architecture and design profession.



The ‘Care’ in Healthcare: A Human Perspective On the Spaces We Design

By Jennifer Beggs, Intern Architect

On a daily basis, HDR’s architects and engineers model buildings on their computers, calculate fire ratings, design signage, measure travel distances, coordinate ceiling heights, and so much more. We think about buildings in terms of their setbacks, height requirements, structure, and compliance to laws. Specifically in healthcare design, we strive to shorten a nurse’s travel time, provide efficiency in department layouts, and add windows to patient rooms, for example.

Have you ever considered that these buildings may be the last spaces that a person sees?

In mid-April, I attended the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) conference in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Most of the attendees were nurses, doctors, care providers, and personal support workers who work alongside dying patients. As peculiar as it may sound for an intern architect to attend a conference on palliative care, I gained a unique perspective on the types of events that go on within the spaces that we work on every day.

Dying is not fundamentally a medical event; it’s a social event that happens within a family and a community. The journey that a person goes through at the end of his or her life often involves friends, family members, and medical staff. From listening to stories and experiences shared by those who work with the dying every day at this conference, it became apparent to me that what people value the most near the end of life is to be with people who will listen to them, who will read to them, and who will talk with them. That’s because they are facing the terrifying reality that they will soon take their last breath. They begin to grieve the loss of what they will never achieve and face the reality of the goals that they will never accomplish.

Above all else, they merely want to feel comfortable during their last days. Often the hospital or hospice facility will be the last place they will ever visit before they close their eyes for the final time. What do they see? How does the space make them feel? What are they surrounded by?

“Where we die is a key part in how we die”(Allison Killing, architect and urban designer). Of course, most people prefer to die at home, but this often isn’t suitable for medical reasons. So they are brought to a place that has unfamiliar views, materials, sounds, and people—the  spaces that HDR works on every day.

Hospital walls witness some of life’s greatest joys, as well as deep sadness. Hospitals are where many take their first breath, and others take their last. So many life-changing events take place within the walls that our architects and engineers design. Consequently, architecture plays a fundamental role in the process of dying.

The dying are still living. When people do not have much left to give to their life, they tend to soak in as much as they can in the time they have left. This often happens in healthcare facilities, which is why our work at HDR is so important.

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” (Alexander Den Heijer, author).

Looking for more posts like this? Check out HDR’s blog, BLiNK, written by employees at HDR. Our bloggers represent offices from around the world and write about topics of importance to the architecture and design profession.



Teck Acute Care Centre celebrates another milestone

The Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospital has celebrated another milestone – the hospital held its topping off ceremony earlier this month! With the building now complete from foundation to roof, the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health, and David Podmore, chair of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, visited the site to count down to a special banner reveal.

Our count down continues as we work towards completion in late Fall 2017!

The new Acute Care Centre will include an emergency department, inpatient units, paediatric intensive care, medical imaging, haematology/oncology and procedural suites. In addition, the facility will include a high-risk labour and delivery suite, and a neo-natal intensive care unit. The design has been through an intensive collaborative process, involving mock ups and consultation with hospital staff, as seen in this video.



Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence named the most sustainable post-secondary building in Canada

The LEED Platinum Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation was named the most sustainable post-secondary building in Canada, according to Corporate Knights Magazine’s 2016 Green Building Review. The building received Gold (first place) in the university and college buildings category. Okanagan College has issued a press release describing the honour in more detail.

The building, located in Penticton, BC, became the first of its size in the region to achieve LEED Platinum certification in June 2015.

HDR’s Bridgepoint Hospital in Toronto also received recognition, achieving Bronze in the Hospitals category.



HDR | CEI enters ‘Mt. Venture’ in the PlayHouzz 2016 Competition

A team of clever staff here at HDR | CEI have designed an entry for Houzz’s PlayHouzz competition. The competition, held by Houzz and the American Institute of Architects, is a charitable playhouse design contest and showcase. This year’s theme is “Adventure”, and they’re looking for innovative playhouse design entries that inspire a sense of imaginative play.

In response, Jorge, Will and Riley have designed Mt. Venture. Here is how they describe the inspiration that led to their creative design:

Conquering nature’s greatest peaks is one of life’s greatest adventures. Mt. Venture invites children to experience the thrill of climbing a mountain, encouraging them to play and explore. Once they reach the top, the little mountaineers will be rewarded with a stunning view and a fun ride down a spiral tube slide.

There are a few ways to conquer Mt. Venture: Mountain Climbing, Cave Exploring, and Rope Climbing. Each path offers a unique challenge that develops motor skills while fostering imaginations. The cave under the mountain provides a gathering space to rest and share stories and a small garden serves as an interactive connection to nature. 

Go see it for yourself! You can view the full entry here in the PlayHouzz Showcase. Be sure to give it a ‘Like’ to vote. Voting is open until 5 p.m. PST on Thursday, April 21.

Good luck, team!



Interior Heart and Surgical Centre’s Fourth Floor Perinatal Unit Now Open

Designed by HDR | CEI, the second phase of the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre supports maternal health in B.C.’s Interior

KELOWNA, BC—With the completion and opening of a new perinatal unit, the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre in Kelowna, BC is now fully operational.

Designed by HDR | CEI Architecture Associates, the unit includes 17 inpatient beds, with five private labour and delivery rooms, a specialized neonatal intensive care unit, a new surgical suite for Caesarean and multiple birth deliveries, and private and semi-private post-partum rooms.

Mothers and babies moved into the Perinatal Unit, which occupies the entire fourth floor of the IHSC, from the adjacent Kelowna General Hospital last weekend. Several babies were born within hours of the move. The unit’s location in the IHSC provides close access to physicians who can perform urgent C-section deliveries, improving patient care when it’s needed most.

“This is an important facility that will support the health of new and expecting mothers and babies in the Interior of B.C., and we’re pleased to see it open and operating,” said Bill Locking, senior vice president of HDR | CEI.

The Perinatal Unit is the second and final phase of the IHSC’s development. The first phase, involving the base building and interiors for the first three floors, opened to the public in September 2015. That phase was designed by HDR | CEI and HOK Architects in joint venture, built by PCL Constructors, and led by Plenary Health.

The IHSC facility houses an advanced cardiac surgery program that supports an estimated 600 open-heart surgery procedures each year. The first two floors include private pre-operation and post-operation day surgery bays, family rooms, a cardiac surgery ICU, 15 operating rooms including two for cardiac operations, and advanced medical imaging equipment to support minimally invasive surgery. The third floor features a medical device reprocessing department.

The building was designed using the latest evidence-based design principles, and is targeting LEED Gold standards. Wood is featured in the exterior wall cladding and in the canopy and soffits, and used extensively for interior decorative elements. The use of wood promotes a warm and natural aesthetic that supports the form and function of the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre as a facility dedicated to healing.

© Sunny Jhooty

© Sunny Jhooty




New Residential Development Approved at 989 Johnson Street


A new residential development planned at 989 Johnson Street received unanimous approval from the Victoria City Council. Two residential towers, 15 and 17 storeys, will soon be built at the corner of Johnson and Vancouver streets in downtown Victoria, BC.

The 180,000 square-foot development with include ground-floor commercial space and 209 residential units with underground parking.

Ground-breaking is expected to take place at the beginning of August, and is anticipated to take two years.

The Victoria Times Colonist reported on the new development. Find the whole story here.



The Importance of Community


By Mary Chow

A question we often ask a new client before starting to design a community, recreation or sports centre is “What does success look like to you on this project?” Along with answers about meeting budgets and timelines, when you finally get to the heart of why the project is being built in the first place, more often than not the answer is “community”.

What does that mean?

For our clients it means a place that will enrich lives, a place to discover new interests, a place to find and make new friends, a place that will meet a need that is missing from the lives of the people in the community.

For me, the word gives real meaning to my work. My client is not the project manager sitting on the other side of the table at meetings. It’s the stay-at-home mother who is looking for relief from her day, a distraction for her child. It’s the senior who often doesn’t make lunch, but will go to his local community centre for a hot nutritious meal. It’s the youth looking for a place away from home to connect, relax, or to do homework. It’s men and woman looking for a way to keep fit or a place to learn something new.

It makes me want to do a good job.

For me, it’s also about extending the idea of “community” into my workplace. The building we create is a result of a community of participants. Each person contributes to the overall whole; without them, the building may be completed, but will never reach the level of excellence that we anticipate.

For the design, it means infusing community into the project by creating spaces for the community. Spaces not just for specific program elements, but spaces for interaction and to just “be”.

Our best projects are elastic from the start. They begin with inviting the community—a range of key stakeholders that have a real vested interest in the project—to contribute. These stakeholders are representatives from the neighbourhood, from sports groups, accessibility groups, seniors, youth, new immigrants; essentially any key group that would benefit from the project. But the project needs to stay elastic with our teams to ultimately allow room to change and to become better as each person contributes something worthwhile.

You know when you’ve reached your goal when the best day is the long awaited for opening day. When the community comes to experience their community centre. Where the number of people who enter the front doors exceeds everyone’s expectations and it’s when you really understand how many people have long waited for this place to become theirs.

Looking for more posts like this? Check out HDR’s blog, BLiNK, written by employees at HDR. Our bloggers represent offices from around the world and write about topics of importance to the architecture and design profession.