A new era of cancer care was unveiled in 2005 when the 400,000 s.f. Peel Regional Cancer Centre opened at Credit Valley Hospital. The organization was committed to raising the bar with their vision “to be the finest hospital in Canada in the hearts and minds of the people we serve.” Transforming these words into reality required a deeply thoughtful response to the individuals physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
CVHs goal was to reimagine what a hospital should be: an extraordinary place whose look and feel matched their vision. The resulting design conceived as a clearing in the forest conveys in every respect the message that you are in good hands. Sheltering tree-shaped forms combine with natural materials and daylight to give a spiritual dimension to the space. The centre is also the Provinces first fully integrated facility combining ambulatory clinics and cancer treatment.
The bold design was embraced immediately as a logical extension of our vision and values, says CEO Wayne Fyffe, The board got it and instantly saw that this was the right thing to do. An anonymous, steel-columned box would contradict our values and turn our vision into empty words.
A steel-columned, rectilinear lobby would also not provide the life-affirming sense of hope and animation. There is a powerful attraction to this design that draws patients, staff and visitors who gather to share their thoughts and talk through emotional issues. Its function goes far beyond the standard requirement for circulation and waiting areas. CVHs lobby thus reflects a vital new role of the hospital as a place that fosters learning and understanding.
Three additional sky-light lanterns located above the radiation therapy waiting areas provide maximum daylight penetration. Natural elements such as running water, tropical fish, and live foliage serve to complement the quality of care. Places of quiet refuge draw on the warmth of fireplaces. These cozy home-like nooks bring something familiar and comforting from everyday life. Outside is Canadas first Cancer Survivors Park.
Innovation was also embraced through non-conventional systems for fire suppression. The project employs the Hi-Fog mist system the first health care application in Canada. The mist heads are concealed in custom designed light standards at the base of each tree and together with infrared detection technology the system successfully meets fire compliance ratings while providing an environmentally friendly alternative to ozone depleting chemical agents.
An expert panel selected by the United Kingdoms leading advocate for design, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment CABE recently selected the Credit Valley Hospital as the Best International Design at the ninth annual Building Better Healthcare Awards BBHA program. Presented in November 2007, the award recognizes an outstanding project that contributes to new thinking and influences the UKs future experience of delivering healthcare in the 21st century.
In coming to a unanimous decision, the jury commented: Rarely has a facility stood apart as spectacularly as the Credit Valley Hospital, the architecture is highly innovative and clearly an integral part of the care process.