Stantec believes that communities are essential. Communities, whether around the corner or the world, provide a core, a sense of place, and a sense of belonging. That is why Stantec always designs with the community in mind. They feel responsible for the communities they serve because they consider them to be their own. This enables them to assess what is required and sync their expertise, recognize complexities and envision what has never been imagined, and bring together unique viewpoints to collaborate toward a common goal. They are engineers, designers, specialists, and project managers who collaborate to innovate at the crossroads of community, imagination, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities yields projects that enhance the standard of living in communities all around the world. One such project is The Bridgepoint Active Healthcare.
The Project’s Description | Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
This project aims to build a mixed-use healthcare district while also fostering urban development. The campus for prevention and wellness is the realization of a 10-year master plan vision. The legendary Don Jail is located in the center of a 9-square grid, and the hospital is situated on the northwest corner. Through its adaptive reuse as a research/administrative center, the Jail’s dark past is transmogrified.
With links to the Don River Valley, Riverdale Park, the downtown skyline, and the Riverdale neighborhood, the therapeutic benefits of nature are maximized.
The main floor of the jail and the hospital’s podium are envisioned as a public “urban porch” with access to terraces, courtyards, and a contemplative labyrinth.
The hospital is designed as a collection of vertical neighborhoods that come together on a rooftop terrace with a lawn and panoramic views of Toronto.
“The redevelopment of our site will not only provide us with a state-of-the-art hospital but will also enable us to create a ‘Village of Care.”– Bridgepoint Health, Vision 2005/2006
“No one likes going to the hospital,” says KPMB Architects’ Bruce Kuwabara. That was the central insight used by Kuwabara and a team of collaborating architects, including Toronto-based KPMB, Stantec, Diamond Schmitt, and HDR, in designing a new hospital for Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. It’d be a new type that would best serve the happiness and well-being of patients. The 680,000-square-foot institute, commissioned by the University of Toronto affiliated Bridgepoint health network and the province of Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, defies convention by opening up to both the city and nature.
The site is located on a hill with viewpoints west over the Don River valley and the downtown skyline, bordering the 104-acre Riverdale Park just east of Toronto’s core. Bridgepoint, a rehabilitation and continuing-care facility, had occupied a functionally obsolete 1960s building. Marian Walsh, the hospital’s CEO, advocated for the new facility to be a “village of care,” with better health of patients and stronger community ties. The project includes the adaptive reuse of the adjacent 19th-century Don Jail for educational and administrative purposes.
According to Michael Moxam, practice leader at Stantec in Toronto, the hospital “usually deals with some very extended stays, up to six months.” As a result, “the vision is to create a healthcare environment that extends far beyond the building.”
The hospital is a large rectangular component that runs north-south along the valley. Its facades are mostly made of dark grey zinc panels and are punctuated with tall huge windows, one for each treatment room. The largely glazed main level, a horizontal bar at the core fifth floor for services, and bands of local Algonquin limestone cladding break down the massing.
Working with a site plan from consultants Urban Strategies, KPMB and Stantec translated the hospital’s openness ethos into urbanism. “We spent a lot of time thinking about the lower levels being a community building rather than a hospital,” states Kuwabara. “It was critical to integrate the building with the landscape, streets, and community.”
The 404-bed, 10-story building, despite its size, achieves that goal. Because car and ambulance transportation is limited, access roads are decently scaled; the hospital connects to the Riverdale neighborhood via a set of plazas and greenery. A one-story “porch” extends north from the core structure. It features a therapeutic pool with glazed facades facing the valley and park, as well as a public open-air rooftop with a meditation labyrinth. A 5th-floor balcony and rooftop deck provide patients with outdoor space.
The walls in the patient rooms are 40% glazed, with horizontal windows designed to allow patients to see outside while lying in bed. In addition, each room has a vertical bay window with high and lateral views of the sky, valley, and city. “The natural world is always visible through a tremendous degree of transparency and porosity,” says Diamond Schmitt principal Gregory Colucci, a design team member. “Patients are never in a situation where they do not have access to the outside world.”
The structure was created through a complex design-build procurement process. KPMB, Stantec, and preservation experts ERA collaborated with the hospital, regional government, and civic organizations to develop project objectives and a design. The agreement to construct, design, fund, and maintain the facility for the next 20 years was then awarded to a consortium led by developers Plenary Group. Diamond Schmitt Architects and HDR’s Toronto office developed the design, oversaw construction, and served as the architect of record.
This cumbersome process, which Moxam refers to as “an epic relay race,” resulted in agreement among the 4 architecture firms engaged in the main building.
The Stantec and HDR teams, both of which have extensive health-care experience, concentrated on the design of patient care areas, while KPMB and Diamond Schmitt were in charge of the site plan, massing, building envelope, and other aspects.
Diamond Schmitt is credited with “substantial alterations and improvements” to the original scheme, according to Kuwabara of KPMB.
This all-hands approach has yielded clinical and financial benefits: as of moving into the new block in 2013, Bridgepoint has reduced its average stay for rehab patients by 20%, saving approximately $1,100 per day. The LEED Silver-certified building saves 30% more energy than the Model National Energy Code for Buildings and 32% more water than the LEED baseline. Furthermore, the hospital affirms a favorable qualitative response. According to Bridgepoint’s post-occupancy surveys, 100 percent of responding patients said that they would strongly suggest the hospital to other patients.
Diamond Schmitt successfully led a sensitive restoration of the Italianate stone building, designed by local architect William Thomas and established in 1864, and connected it to the new hospital via a one-story bridge. The symbolism is potent. The jail, with additional features, housed inmates until 2013; now, those later wings have been demolished to make way for the hospital’s green spaces and plazas. “It is an environment for healing people, and it has also healed the city,” Moxam says.
Details of the Project | Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
Architects: Diamond Schmitt Architects, HDR Architecture, KPMB Architects, Stantec Architecture
Photographs: Tom Arban
Landscape Architect: The MBTW Group
Client: Bridgepoint Health Foundation
Project Type: Healthcare
Project Scope Adaptive Reuse, New Construction
Awards: 2015 AIA – National Awards
Certifications & Designations: LEED Silver
Project Status: Built
Size: 680,000 square feet
Cost: $622 million
Completion Date: April 2013
- Stantec.com. 2022. Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital. [online] Available at: <https://www.stantec.com/en/projects/canada-projects/b/bridgepoint-active-healthcare> [Accessed 13 October 2022].
- KPMB. 2022. Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital. [online] Available at: <https://www.kpmb.com/project/bridgepoint-active-healthcare/> [Accessed 13 October 2022].
- ArchDaily. 2022. Bridgepoint Active Healthcare / Stantec Architecture + KPMB Architects + HDR Architecture + Diamond Schmitt Architects. [online] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/771080/bridgepoint-active-healthcare-stantec-architecture-plus-kpmb-architects-plus-hdr-architecture-plus-diamond-schmitt-architects-plus> [Accessed 13 October 2022].
- Diamond Schmitt. 2022. Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital | Diamond Schmitt. [online] Available at: <https://dsai.ca/projects/bridgepoint-active-healthcare/> [Accessed 13 October 2022].