The healthcare infrastructure specialist

St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, Canada

Our health planning expertise helped to align research and clinical objectives, supporting the design development and ensuring economic and functional feasibility for the scheme to progress.

Key people:

  • Mark Reilly-Usher

Key services:

  • Strategic advisory

Key data:

  • Location: Vancouver, Canada
  • Client name: Providence Health Care
  • Collaborators: IBI Group (architects)

Fast facts:

  • The hospital is moving 3km east to a new central location on a brownfield site
  • One of the largest undeveloped sites in Vancouver, the size of 15 football fields
  • The main building will be an 11-storey, state-of-the-art acute care hospital

Who is the client?

Providence Health Care is the organisation that owns and operates St. Paul’s Hospital, and is in charge of planning the hospital’s redevelopment. They are one of Canada’s largest faith-based health care organisations, 125-year tradition of providing compassionate care to people who need it most, focusing on urgent and complex community health needs.

The challenge – a brand new campus style hospital and research centre

The new St. Paul’s will be the largest hospital redevelopment project in British Columbia’s history: a state-of-the-art, full-service, acute care and internationally-renowned hospital and integrated health campus with a large research centre.

The new hospital will have 548 beds, including a net new 115 beds. It will home several leading provincial programs and referral centres, including heart and lung care, renal, eating disorders, mental health and addiction, and specialty surgeries and transplants. It will offer acute, general and specialised care, including Indigenous health programmes, maternity, colorectal and gastrointestinal services and community care and outreach programs.

The campus development needs to bring together research facilities, commercial and hotel support services, and provide room for future expansion. Other buildings will house out-patient and specialty clinics, primary care, research programs, health care technology, biomedical and life sciences businesses, and more.

Finding a solution – aligning clinical and research goals to facilitate medical breakthroughs

Working in collaboration with IBI Group as site architects, we produced an indicative design for the new campus style site, centred around the 130,000m² acute hospital. This supported the business plan submission to British Columbia’s Ministry of Health.

The aim of the hospital is that research and teaching will be highly integrated throughout the campus, to bring medical breakthroughs to patients at the bedside and in the community faster than ever before. This presented potential challenges around strategic scope misalignment between research and clinical goals.

To mitigate this, we ensured that research representatives were part of the clinical department user groups, where appropriate.

After extensive consultation, we suggested linking the hospital and research centre via the professional office building – this effectively puts the research centre and the clinicians at the centre of care and research collaboration.

Elements of the clinical programs were also based on new models of care which had only partially been developed at an earlier stage of the scheme development. We worked with clinicians to further develop these including the Healthy Ageing service and its relationship with primary care.

For example, the joint research and care programme at the Centre for Healthy Ageing combines diagnosis or treatment areas with education space. We planned the patient approach directly from its own boulevard entrance closely collocated with rehabilitation facilities, with access via dedicated patient lifts.

We also brought experience from the UK’s approach to mental health service provision as the service requirements were further developed.

The current hospital has a strong historic and skill-based reputation linked to the existing building, therefore it was important to ensure those historic values were reflected in the new build and carefully reflect this in the development of the brief.

What was the outcome?

The scheme as developed was the reference scheme to inform the client of the economic and functional feasibility. Archus’ input into the scheme is now complete and the scheme has entered the next phase of development.

More info:

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