HOK selected to design Ontario university’s new eye institute

Architecture and engineering firm HOK has been selected to design the Waterloo Eye Institute for the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science in southwestern Ontario. Rendering courtesy HOK
Architecture and engineering firm HOK has been selected to design the Waterloo Eye Institute for the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science in southwestern Ontario.
Rendering courtesy HOK

The University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science has selected architecture and engineering firm HOK to design its new Waterloo Eye Institute. The 6225-m2 (67,000-sf) space will enhance and expand two floors of the school’s existing building on the University of Waterloo’s campus in southwestern Ontario.

The institute will re-create clinical patient care spaces and blend patient care with education and innovation areas. Specialty patient care services include primary care and pediatric clinics, ocular health and contact lens clinics, low vision rehabilitation and research clinics, teleoptometry centers, an ambulatory ophthalmology surgical center, and facilities for ocular imaging research and biomedical science.

“We look forward to bringing our expertise to serve such an innovative Canadian university and the broader community,” said Arash Farbahi, principal-in-charge of the project from HOK’s Toronto studio. “We will collaborate with School of Optometry and Vision Science director Dr. Stanley Woo and the university community to design a new eye institute that will have a positive impact on patient care and wellness, both locally and nationally. The next generation of clinicians and researchers will train here.”

HOK’s design team includes consultant Chris Downey, an architect who lost his sight following an operation to remove a benign brain tumor. He brings a unique perspective to the project as an expert in developing environments for the blind and visually impaired that are multisensory and do not privilege or bias one sense over others. Downey will help ensure the new Waterloo Eye Institute works equally well for patients, visitors, staff, and students.

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