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Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre

09 Dec 2019
Image Credit: Images courtesy of Zeidler Architecture Inc.
Architectural Credit: Zeidler Architecture Inc.

Location: Hamilton
Date of Completion (Original Building): 1917 
Architect: Unknown
Date of Redevelopment: 2012
Architect of Redevelopment: Zeidler Partnership Architects in partnership w/ Invizij Architects Inc. (formerly Garwood-Jones & Hanham Architects)
Nominated by: Monique Taylor, MPP (Hamilton Mountain)

Modernizing a site with more than 100 years of medical history and 13 distinct buildings, the redevelopment of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre was a complex undertaking requiring big picture thinking and patient-centred design to bring this medical complex to 21st century standards.

Stitching Together a Campus
Although often thought of as a single structure, what is now known as the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (formerly the Henderson General Hospital) was actually a campus of 13 buildings and two parking structures built over several decades in an ad hoc manner.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Zeidler Architecture Inc.

The site was first home to the Mount Hamilton Hospital, a convalescent hospital built in 1917. Over the coming decades, the hospital would grow slowly, with a nurses’ residence added in 1918 and a maternity hospital finally completed in 1938. In 1954, the Nora-Frances Henderson Convalescent Hospital was built on the same site; the two adjacent hospitals would be physically linked and renamed the Henderson General Hospital 11 years later.

Over time, subsequent additions and interior renovations made for increasingly complex circulation and the multiple entrances made for difficult wayfinding. In the early 2000s, the hospital embarked on a new redevelopment project with the aim at replacing the hospital’s outdated environmental structures, improving community hospital services and enhancing acute care support. Central to this redevelopment was improving the connectivity among existing structures, the new addition and the street.


Image Credit: Courtesy of Canadian Post Card Co.

The solution took shape as a new central hallway—an open-ended spine that reconnects existing buildings to the street and links the various elements of the medical campus to produce a more intuitive and user-friendly circulation scheme. This central spine has also allowed for a shared main entrance facing Concession Street featuring a large, distinctive canopy. All entrances are distinct, with a clear hierarchy of public spaces and circulation that eases wayfinding and orientation. A master plan and shelled spaces—
space enclosed by an exterior building shell, but otherwise unfinished inside ready for future expansions—ensure future additions maintain the integrity of the circulation scheme.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Zeidler Architecture Inc.


Another key principle guiding this redevelopment was the concept of salutogenesis—a medical approach focusing on factors that support human health and well-being, rather than on factors that cause disease.

The idea of focusing on elements that increase well-being is nothing new for this hospital. The escarpment site was initially selected for the convalescent hospital back in 1917 in part because of the excellent views and fresh air it provided.

In the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre redevelopment, rounded architectural forms, colourful materials, ample natural light and ventilation, improved circulation and wayfinding and dramatic views of the surrounding Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario are all aimed at promoting a therapeutic and healing environment for patients and their families.

This post forms part of our World Architecture Day Queen’s Park Picks 2019 series in which we asked Ontario’s Members of Provincial Parliament to nominate a prominent building, past or present, in their riding for a chance to learn more about it. Check out the rest of the series to learn more about great buildings across the province!


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