Architects: CEI Architecture
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Area: 65000.0 ft2
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Howard Waisman
From the architect. The Robert H. N. Ho Research Centre is a seven-level, 65,000 square foot facility on the Vancouver General Hospital campus. The project was a collaboration between CEI Architecture and MCMP Architects. CEI’s role began with the initial feasibility study and schematic design and continued as Prime Architectural Consultant, responsible for coordination of all programs and user related requirements, including interface, lab/module design, and interior design.
This $32,000,000 research centre supports advanced cross-disciplinary study in Hip Health and Prostate Research. Its facilities include extensive laboratories and research areas, collaborative workspaces, offices, and social spaces.
The Robert H. N. Ho Research Centre is an addition to the Jack Bell facility. Its narrow site dictated a narrow floor plate. Floor-to-floor heights between the two structures match, and a full-height atrium separates the buildings while providing access to light, common social gathering spaces, and direct functional connections.
The CEI design team worked closely with user groups to understand their workflow needs. The user groups were accustomed to working in isolated offices, unable to collaborate or cross-pollinate ideas. The design team recommended a new integrated workspace model that provides opportunities for interaction and communication, while also respecting the need for private work.
In concert with the user consultation process, we visited other successful research facilities with similar plans, and used this information to redefine the traditional research-based workplace. We used 3D models to help communicate our vision to users and show them practical applications of how a hybrid design would improve functionality and communication.
CEI also served as a facilitator between the furniture systems designer and user groups, helping to define and develop flexible options that would work for the various uses and users of the facility.
The most prominent element of sustainable design is the integration of flexibility, which allows the occupants to transform the space to suit their needs rather than requiring costly and disruptive renovations. Substantial daylighting is provided by skylights above the full-height atrium that runs lengthwise through the facility, providing light to offices on all floors.