Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Emergency Department

The city of Nanaimo is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) serves the city of 85,000, as well as the surrounding Nanaimo Regional District. With a rapidly growing population, technological advances in medical treatment and an increasing emphasis on patient centred care, the old facility reached the end of its useful life. The Vancouver Island Health Authority decided to rehabilitate the existing building and add a new 3,080 square metre expansion. The construction started in the summer of 2010, and the building opened its doors in the fall of 2012. The project follows the ‘generative space’ approach to design. This approach endeavours to create an environment that considerably improves the physical and psychological health, quality of care, and quality of life for all building users. Among the strategies employed are access to daylight and views, physical and visual connection to nature, and the use of wood in both the interior and exterior of the building. Many aspects of the design reflect these goals. The lobby and reception area are open and airy, with high ceilings and natural wood finishes. The planning of the space is also highly functional, with the reception structured so patients are easily triaged. The waiting areas and treatment pods are organized around individual courtyards. These courtyards are open to the sky, so the patients are connected to natural light and interior gardens at all times. A separate mental health unit includes four secure bedrooms, treatment rooms and courtyards, living spaces, and recreation areas.

Wood Use

The city of Nanaimo is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) serves the city of 85,000, as well as the surrounding Nanaimo Regional District. With a rapidly growing population, technological advances in medical treatment and an increasing emphasis on patient centred care, the old facility reached the end of its useful life. The Vancouver Island Health Authority decided to rehabilitate the existing building and add a new 3,080 square metre expansion. The construction started in the summer of 2010, and the building opened its doors in the fall of 2012. The project follows the ‘generative space’ approach to design. This approach endeavours to create an environment that considerably improves the physical and psychological health, quality of care, and quality of life for all building users. Among the strategies employed are access to daylight and views, physical and visual connection to nature, and the use of wood in both the interior and exterior of the building. Many aspects of the design reflect these goals. The lobby and reception area are open and airy, with high ceilings and natural wood finishes. The planning of the space is also highly functional, with the reception structured so patients are easily triaged. The waiting areas and treatment pods are organized around individual courtyards. These courtyards are open to the sky, so the patients are connected to natural light and interior gardens at all times. A separate mental health unit includes four secure bedrooms, treatment rooms and courtyards, living spaces, and recreation areas.