Diamond and Schmitt Architects completes new facility for St. Michael's Hospital
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (LKSKI) has strategically and dramatically transformed the image, essence and the reputation of St. Michael's Hospital into a world-class academic health science centre. St. Michael's is a leading teaching and research hospital, committed to shortening the timeline between lab bench to bedside delivery of new medical treatments. Research findings often take years to be applied to patients, instilled in curriculum, and used in the wider community. LKSKI tackles that challenge by physically bridging the research, education, and clinical worlds.
LKSKI is made up of two components: The Keenan Research Centre has 100,000 sq ft of flexible, open concept wet and dry laboratories for a wide range of medical research activity. Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre includes a library, classroom and meeting facilities. Both share a 200-seat raked conference centre/lecture hall that connects LKSKI to a global network of activities in the medical community.
A key solution to combining the two programs is found over the laneway that divides the two facilities. What could have been a physical impediment to the client's aspirations was transformed into ‘Knowledge Incubator' lounges: light-filled, double-storey spaces that encourage and facilitate a coming together of the 400 cross-disciplinary researchers and those in the educational program. Soft seating, gas fireplaces and kitchen amenities are featured; a graceful wishbone staircase connects these informal meeting spaces and enlivens the streetscape below.
LKSKI demonstrates a carefully studied relationship of its exterior to the interior. Expansive use of vision glass permits high quality of daylighting into all occupied spaces. Glass solar shading minimises heat gain while preserving views. An elegant pedestrian bridge of tubular white steel and glass links LKSKI and the hospital and serves as a symbolic and physical connection between research and clinical practice at St. Michael's.