Stantec + KPMB = design excellence for George Brown College

Recently, one of the first major initiatives to revitalize Toronto’s waterfront, the new George Brown College Waterfront Campus, opened. Overlooking the harbour of Lake Ontario, the striking 507,000-square-foot building focuses on the shift to Inter-Professional Education (IPE) that will transition Canada’s healthcare system towards a patient-centred, team-based care delivery model.  It consolidates George Brown’s schools of Health and Wellness, Dental Health, Nursing and Health Services Management in one purpose-built facility.

Designed by Stantec Architecture/Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects in joint venture, the campus creates a ‘living lab’ for IPE, which enables the training of students in health professions to collaborate across disciplines, allowing them to deliver holistic care and to support innovative service models and products that prioritize wellness and health promotion.

“Every design decision was filtered through an IPE lens considering health promotion as the next frontier of healthcare beyond prevention. The new building lives, breathes HEALTH – the site is absolutely integral, on the water and by the park. It’s a water bottle free-zone and smoking is not allowed. The design has achieved our dream to have building that would be a true enabler of change at every level,” says Lorie Shekter-Wolfson, VP, Waterfront Development and Dean, Community Services and Health Resources.

Formally, the architecture is inspired by the maritime and industrial heritage of the site, and draws inspiration from pier buildings, warehouses of industrial waterfronts and cargo ships. The siting and massing was determined by the location, and maximizes views to Lake Ontario and Sherbourne Park. Inside, a continuous path from the street level to the roof terrace creates a vertical ‘learning landscape’ which simultaneously encourages physical activity, reduces elevator use and provides places for students to cross paths and engage in learning outside of the classroom. Its ‘collaboratory’ quality is intrinsic to the IPE focus. The overall design optimizes access to fresh air, natural light, and public transit.

The design reinforces an environment of wellness,” say Michael Moxam and Bruce Kuwabara, project principals of the joint venture. “The overall program of spaces strikes a balance between academic instruction and hands-on experience that is increasingly essential to ensure the relevance of future healthcare professionals and to the long-term sustainability of Canada’s universally accessible healthcare program.”

About Stantec Architecture/Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects

The joint venture team was led by Michael Moxam and Bruce Kuwabara project principals, and Stuart Elgie and Mitchell Hall, project architects and is a strategic collaboration of creative talent and professional expertise committed to realizing George Brown College’s vision for a culture of excellence and wellness. The joint venture has worked on significant healthcare projects since 2007 when it was awarded the commission to provide Planning/Design/Compliance services for Bridgepoint Health, inclusive of the Design Exemplar which received a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence in 2008.

Stantec Architecture is committed to the highest level of Architectural Excellence and is recognized as an innovator and industry leader in the design of environments for health, wellness and education. Noteworthy projects include 51 Division and 11 Division for the Toronto Police Service, Peterborough Regional Health Centre, U of T Student Centre, and Conestoga College Health Science Centre.  The firm has been the recipient of many design awards, including the City of Toronto Urban Design Award, the Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence, the International Academy for Design and Health Award, the Modern Health Care Design Award, the Design Exchange Award and the Green Toronto Award.

KPMB was founded in 1987 is recognized as one of Canada’s leading architecture practices and is the recipient of over 175 awards for architectural excellence, including 12 Governor General’s Medals. The firm has made significant contributions to Toronto’s Cultural Renaissance, with projects for the Gardiner Museum, Canada’s National Ballet School, and the Toronto International Film Festival among others. Recent projects include the Rotman School of Management Expansion at the University of Toronto, the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo.

About George Brown College

Toronto’s George Brown College has established a reputation for equipping students with the skills, industry experience and credentials to pursue the careers of their choice. From its three main campuses located across the downtown core, George Brown offers nearly 160 programs across a wide variety of professions to a student body of 60,000 (including those enrolled in full-time, part-time and continuing education programs). Students can earn diplomas, post-graduate certificates, industry accreditations, apprenticeships and four-year bachelor degrees.