An addition and renovation to an existing building at the University of Waterloo, Kearns Mancini's design of the new Health Services Building successfully establishes a dialogue between the existing and the new through building massing and transparency, while also leveraging programmatic elements within the entire building complex.
The project involved the renovation of the University of Waterloo Health Services Building as well as a two-storey addition with a new car and bus drop-off. Intended to amplify the presence of the Health Services Department at the University, the project acts as a new medical and mental health clinic serving the entire student population and their immediate families. The design of the medical facility consists of examination rooms, minor procedure rooms, blood labs, medical offices conducive to team collaboration, work spaces, and a full mental-health department.
The building is designed to respond to the shape of the current health services building by occupying the interstitial shape formed between the old building and the street. A new entrance is created in between the two buildings, which form a pie-shaped courtyard for informal gathering. The new second floor cantilevers over this courtyard, resting gently on a triangular precast concrete column which forms a bench at its base. The cantilevering upper storey holds a meeting room which faces the Grand River, while acting as a beacon for the main building entrance.
As a means to integrate the existing building, portions of the existing building were re-clad, while its stucco envelope was re-painted, to complement the addition. The second storey that defines the main courtyard contains a light-well for the waiting and reception area below. Throughout the building, colour is used as a way-finding device, as well as a means to promote health and healing. Windows in the mental health unit on the second storey of the addition were designed to provide views on an anticipated green roof, intended to provide a moment of repose to patients.
I am looking forward to the grand opening of our newly opened Health Services. Your firm did a magnificent job of giving us a facility that looks great and functions beautifully.