Text description provided by the architects. OVO Bioscience, a Montreal-based fertility clinic, opened the first private umbilical cord blood preservation center in Quebec, Canada, in January 2009. Clinique OVO employs the cryogenisation process to preserve stem cells found in the tissues surrounding the blood arteries of a newborn’s umbilical cord.
Beyond the need to create a space which would meet stringent functional requirements while appealing to its visitors, the client intended to use the design of the clinic to increase public awareness of this leading edge technology and of stem cell research in general. With this in mind, they sought to create an avant‐garde, high‐tech image for the bank, showcasing the reservoir where the cord blood is stored.
The cryogenic reservoir and the technology it represents are at the heart of this project. The architects’ approach to the design was to delineate the public and private areas of the clinic, expressing them as outer and inner universes.
The simple forms, cool colours and sleek textures of the outer universe create a futuristic feeling, denoting the cutting edge technology employed by the clinic. The reservoir, displayed in a glass paneled room adjacent to the consultation area, is wrapped in a perforated metal screen on castors which enhances its artistic expression without hindering access to it. The showcase serves as a transitional space where technology and related activities are exposed to visitors, bringing the realms of science and the patient closer to each other.
The architecture of the inner universe is undulating; the warm, deep colors and the soft, sensual textures of the corridor evoke the umbilical cord, while the colors and textures of the ultrasound imaging room echo the mystery of the experience. The corridor to the examination rooms, which in a traditional clinical setting might provoke anxiety, has been designed to counteract this effect.