The youngest generation living in the Canadian province of British Columbia now has an innovative, state-of-the-art hospital to complement the outstanding care BC Children’s Hospital was already known for. The 8-story, 640,000-sq.-ft. Teck Acute Care Centre has been, literally, built to heal with patients’ and their families’ entire journey of body, mind, and spirit planned and designed in extraordinary detail.
The BC Children’s Hospital treats newborns, children, and expectant mothers from all over the province, meeting the needs of 200,000+ patients each year. The Teck Acute Care Centre, located on the grounds of the Vancouver campus, welcomed its first patients less than two years ago.
What makes the Teck Centre unique is the focus on using design elements to create a gentle healing environment that would reduce anxiety and perceived pain for infants and children. To that end, whimsical sculptures, murals, and other artwork are featured throughout the halls and treatment rooms. The waiting area boasts an enormous, virtual interactive aquarium that helps soothe worried minds. Lighting, too, plays a crucial role in creating a sense of calm for both patients and their parents.
In addition, thanks to a recent fund-raising campaign, the hospital raised $6 million to establish the Children’s Healing Experience Project (CHEP), described as “the curating and procurement of purposeful artwork to provide positive distraction, inspire, educate, and promote healing.” Throughout the Teck Acute Care Centre is a specially selected collection of original murals, sculptures, and interactive displays created by more than 60 artists and six iconic community organizations from across British Columbia. On each floor, purposeful art and installations engage, inspire, and comfort children, youth, families, and even the staff.
The first of its kind in Canada, CHEP supports the growing body of evidence that healing experiences using purposeful art can result in measurable clinical outcomes, including the reduction in anxiety, perception of pain, and need for sedation, as well as shortened hospital stays. However, this is not a case of “art for art’s sake.” Each piece of art and every installation has a purpose and is connected to a desired clinical outcome.
A guiding principle of the project was to involve the very people who understand the hospital experience the most: patients, families, and health care professionals. A Children’s Healing Experience Project Committee, made up of medical experts, patient families, community volunteers, builders, hospital leadership, and Aesthetics Inc., reviewed more than 1,200 submissions through a nationwide call for artists. Ultimately, it was the kids who had the final say on the artwork, weighing in with valuable feedback, such as a desire for scenes that reminded them of home and activities with family.
As a result, the Teck Acute Care Centre is filled with 220 murals, 360 ceiling tiles, and 8 sculptures — all of which are reflective of the natural beauty and diversity of the province.
It also has exhibits from community partners — The Vancouver Art Gallery, Royal BC Museum, Vancouver Aquarium, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, and Science World — designed to educate and engage children in ways never before seen in a hospital. There are also two themed playrooms, created by the Vancouver Canucks and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, that offer kids a place to escape and families with a setting to connect.
Setting the stage for this unusual experience inside the hospital was partly the responsibility of the lighting designers at Vancouver-based SMP Engineering, who worked on all areas of the Centre, including the main lobby and the entrance’s exterior canopy.
The design aesthetic in these areas is an airy, high wooden structure that carries fluidly from the outdoor canopy through to the indoor lobby. The lighting team’s objectives was to provide high levels of direct illumination to fill the space and even, indirect illumination to highlight the wooden structure.
To accomplish this, the lighting designers specified Luminis’ Syrios SY806 up/down pendant for the interior lobby. This high-performance luminaire has a timeless design that blends with the contemporary architecture of the hospital center. The 8-inch cylindrical pendant delivers enough light to illuminate the floor below and provides the uplight to accent the 20-foot ceiling. The design of the Syrios allows the light module to be aimed precisely where it is needed, enabling the highlighting of the wood beams and ceiling.
The exterior canopy offered its own specific challenges due to the varying canopy heights. The solution was to combine direct and indirect pendants with surface-mounted fixtures. Syrios SY806 was installed for the higher canopy, providing path light as well as uplight.
For the lower canopy, a surface-mounted version of the Syrios SY810 was required to allow sufficient clearance for people walking below. These luminaires highlight the overhang canopy and intentionally push light away from the building in a controlled way to precisely illuminate the walkway as it leads into the lobby. The lighting designers were able to seamlessly mix and match the SY806 and SY810 luminaires to maintain a consistent design aesthetic. The project also had to meet the stringent energy-efficient targets for LEED Gold certification as well as local ASHRAE requirements.
The designers achieved a lighting scheme in the entrance and lobby that is both soothing and impressive. The indirect distribution is consistently even, while the direct illumination is powerful with minimal glare for comfort.
The lighting design delivers light in exactly the right places to make both the exterior and interior areas well-illuminated, welcoming, and functional spaces for visitors and employees alike. From a technical standpoint, the products meet all required standards and will continue to offer high quality, energy-efficient lighting for the hospital and its patients for many years to come.
BC Children’s Hospital (Teck Acute Care Centre)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada