Carleton University students in the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism have contributed design ideas to The Ottawa Hospital for a planned new facility on the edge of the Central Experimental Farm.

The collaboration between the hospital and Carleton is an example of how students gain relevant experience and engage with the community on timely issues. The collaboration began in 2019 and continues in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Fourteen students took part in this experiential learning, led by Prof. Federica Goffi. The project was to develop a Welcome Centre where volunteers and staff provide information and help to patients and families. It is also a place to buy gifts, order services, and pay for parking.

One of the interesting elements of the collaboration was the timing. The group visited the hospital’s Civic campus in January and the General campus in February. On March 18, Carleton University moved teaching online.

As the students transitioned to online studies, they altered their design in consideration of the hospital’s crucial role during the pandemic. Focus shifted from the general well-being of users to infection control of potential COVID patients.

The students produced eight projects that explore the links between personal wellness and the spaces of health care. With a focus on details and defining the qualities of “hospitable” architecture, the projects built on the vision of The Ottawa Hospital and its Volunteer Resources and Program Planning departments.



“Proper details are critical in defining our sense of place and providing comfort and care for residents, visitors, volunteers and medical staff,” said Goffi. “Nevertheless, often, medical facilities are designed to best house machines rather than people.”

In response to the pandemic, Goffi asked students to address questions such as how to compartmentalize the Welcome Centre during a pandemic or adapt hospital corridors – traditionally non-adaptable spaces – in times when the full capacity of the hospital is exceeded.

They also considered extra-to-ordinary features such as a dedicated staff entrance, drive-through areas for testing and drop-off, and vehicular circulation on two levels or the two sides of the hospital.

Carleton gives special thanks to The Ottawa Hospital’s Sherri Daly, manager of Volunteer Resources, and Michelle Currie, manager of Program Planning, for their advice throughout the project.


Monday, October 19, 2020 in , , ,
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