A Community, Not An Institution 

Much of the effort behind the design of the North Bay Regional Health Centre was to address the institutional feel of typical health centres. To achieve this, the architects designed the centre with the idea of a small Northern Ontario community – the core of the project comprises a chaplaincy, meeting areas, marketplace cafe and library. A main street connects this core to the two main facilities within the complex, and numerous side streets navigate through courtyards and clusters of support and amenity spaces. Instead of long hallways and small rooms, patients are housed in ‘lodges’ containing up to 16 patients, single bedrooms and shared areas. The low-rise scale permits ease of access to grade and a connection to the surrounding countryside.

Thinking Local

The use of wood, both as heavy timber structure and as final finishes, was a context-aware decision. Wood is a familiar and local material that provides a warm and welcoming feeling to patients, but its use is also important in supporting the softwood industry, making use of the numerous forestry mills throughout Northern Ontario.

This post forms part of our World Architecture Day Queen’s Park Picks 2017 series in which we asked Ontario’s Members of Provincial Parliament to nominate a prominent building, past or present, in their riding for a chance to learn more about it. Check out the rest of the series to learn more about Ontario’s great architecture.  

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