George Brown College - Waterfront Health Sciences CampusEdit profile
Investing in Design for the Future of Healthcare Universal healthcare is a fundamental building block of Canadian culture. Its future lies in shifting from isolated medical services to an integrated model for the delivery of care. Recognizing that changing the way health providers are educated and trained is key to achieving this systemic change, George Brown College required that the design its new Waterfront Health Sciences Campus manifest the concept of Inter-Professional Education (IPE). IPE is defined as two or more professions collaborating and sharing information to improve the quality of patient care. Architecture as Urban Citizen: Waterfront Revitalization The project is located on a prominent city-owned site in the East Bayfront-West Precinct at the edge of Lake Ontario. As one of Waterfront Toronto’s major initiatives, the public advocate and steward of the city’s waterfront revitalization, the project had to be designed in compliance with stringent urban design guidelines, inclusive of objectives for street level animation, mixed-uses, sustainable design and architectural excellence. The vision to consolidate George Brown’s schools of Dental Health, Health and Wellness, Health Services Management and Nursing in a single, purpose-designed facility is consistent with the endorsed precinct plan. The program encompasses institutional, education and employment uses, as well as selected retail and community services. With a student enrolment of 3,500 students, 500 faculty, continuing education and clinical programs this new campus is an anchor in the overall revitalization of the waterfront and will be a catalyst for animating this evolving precinct of the city. Vertical Integrated Academic Campus The overarching vision of the campus is to realize the IPE, defined by a flexible/adaptable environment where students from the different healthcare programs can learn with, from and about each other, the value of collaboration and its positive impact on quality of care. The physical manifestation of the concept is achieved through a transparent, vertically integrated campus that supports a multiplicity of learning, training and collegial experiences. The massing and orientation respond to the unique conditions of its natural and urban geography, and incorporates an appreciation for its rich and storied industrial and maritime heritage. The overall composition is grounded by a flexible academic loft bar building along the west side. On the south and east sides, the massing is defined by a highly transparent and animated podium element connecting intimately to the lake and the park. Above this, the articulated forms of the library and large lecture halls act as beacons and symbols of George Brown College at the waterfront. The high degree of transparency ensures an energetic symbol of student activity engaging the the lake and the park and further facilitates the penetration of light to the park. The emphasis on horizontality – form and expression - mitigates the vertical impact of the complex on the Lakefront site. Exterior Expression – Communicating the Program + Sustainable Design Each façade is unique, responding to different exposures and intended connections. Coloured glass entry vestibules clearly denote entrances and are shaped to provide weather protection. The use of clear glass throughout projects animation within to the street and enhances the Jane Jacobs “eyes on the street` principle. The three-storey glass podium showcases the elevator core wall, classroom volumes and public areas within. A floating two-storey element, cantilevered on the south east corner, clad in a suspended fritted glass veil denotes the Library, a core symbol of learning and community, critical element in the success of the campus. Interior light shelves and operable windows enhance the work/study zones and interior environment. An exterior terrace on the roof offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with a wood decking, pergola and green roof landscape. The south-west elevation includes a double-skin façade integrated with horizontal solar shading devices and ventilation to increase energy performance. On the north-east corner a pair of stacked lecture hall volumes float above the podium. Clad in opaque and perforated metal, student seating lounges are located beneath the carved form of the tiered seating and are visible behind the clear exterior glazing. Interior Expression The interior palette prioritizes high quality and durable materials for long term value and ease of maintenance. The ground floor interior, exterior terrace, and lower level concourse utilize dimensioned stone tile, porcelain tile, terrazzo and wood decking. The Learning Landscape on the lower level concourse and upper levels employ sealed concrete floors with wood benches, glass balustrades and acoustic wood ceilings. Wood floors are proposed in select locations like the Auditorium, Student Services, Library and Meeting Rooms. A wood ceiling defines the upper plane of the transparent podium. Selective use of stone wall tiles, laminated colour glass wood lattice screens and millwork elements highlight feature elements within the public zone and aid in intuitive orientation and wayfinding. Hardened and sealed concrete is proposed for all public corridors and atrium spaces above the podium on Levels 4 - 7. This finish achieves elegance, is highly durable, maintenance free and cost effective while echoing the industrial heritage of the district. A Learning Landscape Openness is fundamental Canadian culture and the design promotes transparency and accessibility throughout. The architectural section embodies the notion of a fluid ‘learning landscape’ with a legible vertical path for movement through the building, from the ground plane to the roof terraces, and with constant visual access to the Park and Lake. Circulation through all levels is highly legible and easy to navigate, purposefully designed to reduce elevator use and to promote wellness among occupants. The podium element is fully transparent and programmed with retail, food services, clinics, student amenity space and an auditorium to promote animation at street level and to express an inviting, public face to the city and the East Bayfront Precinct. The landscaping and adjacent site treatment is envisioned as an extension of the building’s ground floor plane. With a LEED Gold target, the design prioritizes the essential principles of sustainability, inclusive of maximum exposure to fresh air, natural light, and views; access to public transit and alternative modes of transportation; and a commitment to building for the long term.