(Inter)Connective tissue

Building a new benchmark for interdisciplinary health care education, research and practice

by Amy 31 October 2011
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    The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, North Building, Phase 1 is one of four projects designed as part of a master development plan co-partnered by the University of Alberta (UA) and the province's health service organization Alberta Health Services.

    Completed in September 2011, this 56,000 sq m facility, focusing specifically on healthcare education and research, plays a key role in the institution's fundamental objective: to improve patient and family health care experience, access and quality through an interdisciplinary model of education, research and practice.

    The building is designed to abolish symbolic and physical boundaries between traditional healthcare disciplines and cultivate an environment where health practitioners can work together in the most creative ways possible. The building is strategically located adjacent to medical centres and transportation hubs and technologically connected to the UA campus and the world at large.

    The building is long and low, 187m in length and 30m in height, running lengthwise along a main light-rail transit, vehicular and pedestrian artery to connect the city's newly emerging health science sector to the heart of the existing campus. This elevation sits opposite the UA's 650-bed teaching and research hospital, thus, is simply articulated to express its span, reflect the liveliness of the collaborative space within and contrast the stoic surrounding building stock.

    At its extreme, it is the colourful dawning of the new day, catching the eastern light of the sunrise and the dimming of dusk when, like the sun, the colours fade and transparency takes over, evoking the 24/7 nature of healthcare practice.

    The expression of this street façade changes and regenerates with the intensity of the unusual quality of light in the Canadian North. The building's expression changes by season, daily and hour to hour. It is expressive of its location and situation. It is both stately and fun.

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