‘Movement is life’ is the driving theme of this North Bay healthcare centre

A project that has been in the works since 2012, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit can now provide public health services to a community that was once seriously underserved.

Interior Designer: Anne Carlyle, ARIDO
Design Team: Alanna Drawson, ARIDO
Design Firm: Carlyle Design Associates
Architect Lead: Paul Mitchell, B. ARCH OAA FRAIC
Architecture Firm: Mitchell Jensen Architects
Photographer: Lisa Logan

In a design collaboration between Mitchell Jensen Architects and Carlyle Design Associates, this highly functional building “brings public health into the public realm”, according to principal designer Anne Carlyle, ARIDO.

A site was purchased in North Bay that is easily accessible by public transit, bike paths, and pedestrian routes to embody the Health Unit’s objective to promote healthy lifestyles. The design team and client shared a goal of designing a facility which is practical, reflects the Unit’s values, welcomes the public, inspires staff and visitors, and symbolizes the value of health promotion to the community. ‘Movement is life’, and is fundamental to health, which became a driving theme in this project.

Photographer: Lisa Logan

From the entrance, movement is expressed by the expansive open atrium with prominent, gradual stairs, and discrete elevators. The repeated elements of circular shaped lighting and Douglas Fir curtainwall continue this rhythm throughout the building. Expansive glazing and views of the landscape help to calm anxious visitors and to aid wayfinding, while the connection to nature is further reinforced by materials including abundant wood and natural stone.

Photographer: Lisa Logan

Behind the scenes, staff are provided with a variety of workspace options including workstations, private rooms, lounge spaces, and group settings for table-based and more casual meetings, shared work or socialization. These workspaces run perpendicular to windows to maximize natural light, views and windows, and are adaptable to employee needs with sit/stand options, adjustable storage, and task lighting.

Art by local artists is placed throughout the space, fifteen were generously donated through an anonymous donor, while another fifteen are on loan via a partnership with a local gallery. The pieces inspire reflection and conversation, adding dynamic interest to the stunning facility.

Photographer: Lisa Logan

This project was also awarded a Canadian Interiors Best in Canada Award for the Institutional Category. Congratulations to Carlyle Design Associates and Mitchell Jensen Architects!

Beach side serenity is the palette for this chiropractic clinic

The design scheme for Movement Chiropractic and Rehab was inspired by the client’s love of the beach. It was a narrow, bare unit with plenty of potential. We paired a sea-star blue accent colour with a very calming white throughout the clinic. A sand coloured floor and custom-designed reception desk with speckled quartz countertops complete the beach side serenity atmosphere.

Interior Designer: Luca Campacci
Design Firm: Level Studio Inc.
Photographer: Level Studio Inc.

The client’s passion for art created another interesting feature. This clinic features the work of local artists along the main hallway. We felt it was important to provide aspiring artists more opportunities to showcase their work, especially in Vaughan, and was a great way to give back to the community in a subtle way.

A wide central hallway was crucial as some of her potential clients could be in crutches, a walker or wheelchair and also allows better viewing of the gallery wall. The hallway extends out to a very open area with plenty of space for exercise and rehabilitation treatments.

The biggest challenge was spacing of treatment rooms in such a small space in order to maximize profit while also providing other program requirements such as a kitchenette, accessible washroom, office and storage. A double-loaded corridor was the most efficient use of space that opens out to the rehab area. Natural light filters through the clinic on both ends maximizing daylight and we felt this was extremely important for a healthcare facility. We also chose to go with space saving sliding doors throughout the clinic. 

Another challenge was addressing the existing location of the electrical boxes that were in prime real estate by a window. We used large blue bi-passing doors that were opaque for the electrical room which allowed light to filter through them and maximize daylight within the space. 

The layout is flexible as the company grows. Rooms that don’t contain chiropractic tables can be used as meeting rooms or office space.  With their first clinic, the client has the space and layout to build a thriving chiropractic practise

This project is a home away from home for families

Originally completed in 2011, this 100,000 square foot, five-level ‘house in a garden in the city’ provides a home away from home for families and their seriously ill children coming to Toronto for specialized medical care.

Interior Designer: Anne Carlyle, ARIDO
Joint Venture Collaborator: Robert Davies, OAA, Montgomery Sisam Architects
Design Team: Alanna Drawson, ARIDO
Design Firm: Carlyle Design Associates Limited
Project Photographer(s): Tom Arban, Stacey Brandford, Angus Fergusson, Virginia Macdonald, Donna Griffith

Designed to reflect and support the house’s compassionate mission, ‘helping families to heal better’, the building provides all the facilities that families need to make the house their own: communal living, kitchen and dining rooms, games and playrooms, a library, a variety of activity rooms, a school, and 81 family suites.

True to guiding design principles, the house is open, warm and welcoming, full of light and connections to outdoors. Public spaces are grounded with wood and stone and punctuated with walls of lively colour. Finished with one of three quiet palettes, each family suite is a restful retreat within the building.

The use of warm, vibrant colours in corridors energizes the three upper levels, and transforms the building into a beacon of glowing coloured light, visible across courtyards and from the street.

Exterior night time view of Ronald McDonald House with floors painted in red, orange and yellow forming a gradient.

Furnishings throughout – a varied and eclectic mix of contemporary, custom, traditional and old/found – add colour, texture and character; like a family home that has been lovingly furnished. Two sheltered exterior courtyards are equipped to support both family dining and quiet outdoor lounging.

Common living room space at Ronald McDonald House with red rug and green seating.

Over 300 works of original art – commissioned, purchased and donated – were selected for their special meanings. Highlights include a lyrical wrought-iron entry gate, expressive courtyard and rooftop sculptures, paintings by children at the house, and others by adults living with disabilities, a collection of paired aerial and detail photographs hanging in all the suites, one of Toronto’s iconic moose and a family of sculptural “whimsies” – funny, fantastical creatures – that inhabit the corridors.
This project was a seamless four-year collaboration with the architectural team, after establishing the design principles with stakeholders. Donations poured in from suppliers to support fire safety, sustainability, indoor air quality, accessibility, durability, cleaning and skilful integration into the design scheme.

View from interior to exterior courtyard with additional view down a hallway.

The completed project is a critical success, called “a remarkable hybrid of grace and civility designed to function as an urban hotel and as a refuge of wellness.” by Lisa Rochon of the Globe and Mail. More importantly, one of the first family visitors said, “I cannot believe the amount of thought put into every detail, . . . it’s above and beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined.”