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St. Mary’s Hospital one of several winners in the Design & Health International Academy Award program

St. Mary’s Hospital, designed by Farrow Partnership Architects in association with Perkins+Will, was twice honoured at the annual Design & Health International Academy Awards held in Toronto on July 12, 2014. Designed with the goal of being North America’s first carbon-neutral hospital, the project took top awards in the categories of both the Use of Art in the Patient Environment and International Sustainable Design.

Located in Sechelt, British Columbia, the LEED Gold-targeted facility was conceived as a long-term asset to the community. The Sechelt Indian Band donated the site for the hospital nearly 50 years ago on land that was once part of a residential school. It is significant that a place of health has arisen to help people alleviate memories of that bleak era, to see brighter days on the Sunshine Coast.

Drawing on the talents of First Nations’ peoples who settled here thousands of years ago, the architects conceived of three public art installations: a 20×50-foot-wide mural for the new lobby; three totem poles at the main entrance; and memorable lobby plaques. The purpose of the featured artwork is to bring meaning, understanding and connection to this community and its hospital. The theme of healing was essential not only in relation to the hospital but also with regard to the First Nations’ painful history on this particular land.

Carbon neutrality was achieved by employing energy conservation measures to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from burning oil, coal and gas. In addition to a high-performance building envelope, the hospital includes 125 boreholes, each 250 feet deep, to provide zero-carbon energy for heating and cooling the building through radiant slabs. A 19-kilowatt photovoltaic array, the largest of its type in British Columbia, provides electricity. Patients look out over a green roof, which, along with white roofs, reduce solar heat gain.

Passive design strategies, such as the use of solar shading and operable windows, allow for natural ventilation. Lighting is equipped with occupancy sensors and exhaust-air-recovery ventilation. As a result, the project is on target to achieve a 40% energy savings.

“St. Mary’s is setting a new benchmark in health-care design,” says Tye Farrow, senior partner at Farrow Partnership Architects. “The art and architecture together provides a new public face for the hospital that radiates a message of welcome with roots and stories from native culture. The shape of the building itself was inspired by the cedar bentwood box, unique to the coastal First Nations. In this concept, the bentwood box holds our most precious possession—our health.”

“This project represents to us the success that comes from merging state-of-the-art care with a deep connection to nature and community – and the importance of striving for design excellence in health-care facilities,” says Susan Gushe, Managing Director of Perkins+Will’s Vancouver office.

Nursing units are shaped in a bent lacrosse-stick shape to improve sightlines and reduce travel distances; a publicly accessible interior “porch” along the south elevation provides respite for patients by allowing direct views to the Georgia Strait; 85% of the spaces have access to natural daylight; and skylights and clerestory windows are included in the emergency room area where the large floor plate would have restricted access to natural light.

In addition to being consistent with high sustainability standards for the building as a whole, the artwork creates a legacy as treasured pieces for generations to come. For the sunburst mural, only recycled or salvaged materials were used. The base is made of reused form plywood. Cedar blocking is from milling operations cutoffs. Copper used in the sun rays was salvaged and pounded with hammers for texture, then pieced together like a puzzle.

Other winners are as follows.

The Chair of Lifetime Leadership Award was given to George J. Mann, AIA, a Professor of Architecture and the Ronald L. Skaggs FAIA Endowed Professor of Health Facilities Design at Texas A&M University.

In the Health Project Over 40,000sm category, the winner was St. Olavs Hospital in Norway by Nordic – Office of Architecture/Ratio Arkitekter/Studio4 Arkitekter/KHR/Pre Knudsen Arkitekter/Asplan Viak/Niels Torp Arkitekter/Pol G Kavli.

In the Health Project Under 40,000sm category, the winner was Sir Ludwig Guttman Health & Wellbeing Centre in the UK by Penoyre & Prasad.

The International Research Project Award was given to Neural Correlates of Nature Stimuli: A fMRI Study by Debajypti Pati, Michael O’Boyle, Cherif Amor, Jiancheng Hou, Shabboo Valipoor and Dan Fang, Texas Tech University, USA.

The Mental Health Design Award recognized the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care in St. Thomas, Ontario by Parkin Architects in joint venture with Architects Tillman Ruth Robinson.

In the Future Health (Unbuilt) category, the Gualv New City General Hospital in China by RTKL Associates claimed the Award.

The Interior Design Award was given to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Australia by HDR | Rice Daubney.

The Award for Product Design for Healthcare Application recognized Interactive Installation, St. Olavs Hospital in Norway by Sony Corp in cooperation with Parallel World Labs.

And finally, St. Olavs Hospital in Norway by Nordic – Office of Architecture/Ratio Arkitekter/Studio4 Arkitekter/KHR/Pre Knudsen Arkitekter/Asplan Viak/Niels Torp Arkitekter/Pol G Kavli also won the Salutogenic Design Award.

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