This project, located in the heart of Prince George, northern British Columbia’s largest city, involved the upgrading of an aging and outdated central hospital facility to meet contemporary healthcare delivery and building code requirements. Together with the addition of new accommodation for an expanding population and the enhancement of a range of community health services, it serves the needs of this burgeoning centre.
Extending through the full height of the new building is the day-lit circulation atrium, with a vertical structure consisting of eight glue-laminated timber (glulam) tree columns arranged along one side of the space, which support faceted glulam ribs and a series of translucent polycarbonate skylights. The atrium is overlooked by continuous balconies at each floor level; these and other circulation areas in the building also feature Douglas-fir veneer acoustic panels, chosen for their warm appearance and durability compared to more traditional fabric-covered panels. These features give the public spaces of the hospital a non-institutional atmosphere that contrasts with the more clinical appearance of the other areas.
Externally, wood is used to clad the stair tower of the building and on the soffit of the projecting entrance canopy. Though limited in area, these applications of wood serve to soften the appearance of the building and offer a gesture of welcome to visitors.