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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Health centre provides positive distractions from the hospital experience
The City of Peterborough is located in a geographic region north-east of Toronto know as the Kawathas. Characterised by rolling hills, rugged geography, lakes and marshland, communities within the Kawarthas grew up around “crossroads”. Peterborough is a rich urban community that has it’s roots in one such “crossroads”.

The concept for Peterborough Regional Health Centre is rooted in this idea of ‘crossroads’; the intersection of two paths. The east-west path establishes the main entrance and lobby space, and is given material presence through locally quarried stone. Upon entrance from the west, visitors are immediately visually reconnected to the panoramic view of the city and regional geography to the east. The north-south path provides the prime circulation spine on all six levels and is expressed in a warm charcoal grey concrete block. The program simply builds around these two ’crossroad’ elements leaving them always legible as the principle organizing device. The north-south spine passes through landscaped courtyards like “the bridges” of Peterborough, connecting the city across the Otonabee River.

The idea is about being connected to and reflective of the community as a means of generating a sense of wellness, familiarity and comfort. The visual connection to the rolling hills of the Kawarthas upon entry, the constant views to the community and landscape throughout the facility, The “Bridges of Peterborough” that provide light, view and orientation are all ideas about creating a sense of belonging, connection, familiarity and stress reduction.

Architecture for health is about lifting the spirit through connection, landscape, order, light and material. PRHC, since opening, has become a community meeting place. Many visitors are there to experience the views from the lobby, the cafeteria or the landscaped roof terrace and perhaps to have a coffee and social contact. Being truly connected to its community, PRHC provides positive distractions that reduce the stress related to the experience of healthcare.

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