Shim-Sutcliffe Architects win WAN Healthcare Award for Best Hospital Upgrade

The winners of the World Architecture News (WAN) Awards for Healthcare recently announced, and for the first year running, three winners of the WAN Healthcare Award for 2014 were selected. Following the 2013 Awards, and taking into consideration the number of healthcare projects that are upgrades or extensions, WAN decided to incorporate a separate subcategory to accommodate these projects. The three categories are: Built, Unbuilt, and Best Hospital Upgrade.

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects have won the Best Hospital Upgrade category with the Residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. The winner in the Built category is Atelier PRO Architekten with the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort in The Netherlands, while  the winner in the Unbuilt  category is Henning Larsen Architects for the Odense University Hospital & Faculty of Health Sciences in Odense, Denmark.

Forming a sinuous line between the Don Valley to the north and the low-rise urban fabric of the city to the south, Shim-Sutcliffe’s Residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto articulates both individual contemplative life and the community engagement of the Sisters’ ministries, making relationships to nature and the city to reinforce public and private aspects. Completed in April of 2013, the residence is located in the heart of the city of Toronto and includes the restoration and rehabilitation of the historic 1850s Taylor House.

The Sisters’ mission statement mandated an ecological approach to physical, social and economic well-being of all people. The program for the building includes 58 residential suites accommodating a variety of levels of care, from independent living to long-term care, nursing stations and private hospital facilities.

The design of the new residence for the Sisters is organized along a single-loaded corridor that forms the spine of the building. A series of operable windows line one edge of the corridor, admitting an abundance of natural light and ventilation through the corridor and into the suites overlooking the verdant ravine landscape. The landscaping for the project mediates between the restored forest of the ravine, the building and the city. The individual suites for each Sister serve as a home within a larger home supporting the needs of each Sister while fostering the core values and beliefs of all of the residents.

In this project, sustainability extends beyond the physical requirements of creating a green building and includes the longer-term evolution of the Sisters as an organization and its ability to thrive. The project’s green agenda is an integral part of its legacy and includes geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, solar hot-water pre-heating, green roofs, rainwater cisterns and permeable pavers.

The Sisters were originally from America and travelled north into Canada to start healthcare facilities, which are still part of the healthcare system. Founded to be a community home, ministry and outreach, the residence was considered by juror Laura Lee to be “brave, very ambitious in a different way.” Juror Duane Passman was also pleased with the scheme, highlighting “the quite complex façade and wonderful finishing.” The jury thought this unique project had integrity and a holistic approach, a well-deserved place amongst the winners.

The jury was comprised of: Tom Lloyd, Director at PearsonLloyd, a leading innovator in industrial design, who has a sharp eyes for projects that respond to the shifting and future patterns of contemporary life; Laura Lee, one of the founders of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres; Duane Passman, Director of 3T’s Hospital Redevelopment in the UK; John Hicks, Director, AECOM Global Heath; Paul Monaghan, AHMM; and Brian Spence, BAM Architecture Studio.

For more information, please visit