Photo Tour: Princess Margaret Cancer Center

Princess Margaret Cancer Center is a scientific research center and teaching hospital in downtown Toronto. It has an Art Deco era base building with a modern building with 18 floors. In the process of refurbishing the ground floor several times to meet the requirements of the project, the main entrance space was carved into a network of maze-like corridors, located under a low ceiling, with poor lighting conditions.

Since 2014, a Toronto-based company Hariri Pontarini Architects with NORR architects and engineers A spatial transformation project was undertaken to reimagine the 40,000 square foot ground floor and redefine the way patients interact with the institution. The design goal is to prioritize the patient experience-emphasizing that the patient is at the center of their personal treatment plan and as a partner in their own care. The beautiful and inspiring space uses light, materials, landscape and art to create a peaceful and welcoming environment to support patients and their families. The space is now fully accessible and easy to navigate.

The new floor plan adds approximately 20% of public space, including a new state-of-the-art blood laboratory, outpatient pharmacy, and patient education library, each with an expanded waiting area.

The project team drew inspiration from the feel and comfort of entering a familiar and welcoming place (such as a home, hotel or airport lounge), these places are designed to relax visitors and create a dignified and supportive environment. The warm wood tone distinguishes this hospital environment from most environments. The wooden slat ceiling is the main architectural feature and an integral part of the overall aesthetic goal, but it is a challenge to convince the hospital to allow such a feature. The design team conducted rigorous and repeated tests to ensure that the use of natural wood complies with the agency’s agreement on materials and surfaces, which helps to obtain approval.

A team analyzed pedestrian and traffic models, and also conducted an in-depth study of patient flow, especially around the entrance. The result is a new entrance with two large revolving doors and a sequence of ramps, designed to accommodate 250,000 visits to the center per year.


Project details:

Institution Name: Princess Margaret Cancer Center

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Completion date: December 2020

Owner: University Health Network

Total floor area: 44,666 square feet

Total construction cost: Not applicable

Cost/m²: Not applicable

Architects: Hariri Pontarini Architects and NORR Architects and Engineers

Interior design: Hariri Pontarini Architects

General Contractor: Turner Construction Company

Engineering: MCW consultant

Builder: Turner Construction Company

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