Montreal hospital project revisits historical architecture in contemporary addition

Hopital du Sacre-Cœur-de-Montreal’s (HSCM’s) L-shaped addition to its historic building borrows the masonry of the original building and combines it with a modern curtainwall system to maximize access to natural light.

The hospital was first completed in 1927 and functioned as a sanitorium. Almost a century later, the hospital is now one of Montréal’s major ambulatory care centres, with a highly specialized trauma centre, serving as an important part of the city’s health-care infrastructure.

Recently, the hospital’s stakeholders recognized the need to update HSCM. Architects’ Provencher_Roy and Yelle Maille architectes designed an expansion, spanning over 16,252 m2 (174,935 sf), complementing the heritage structure while creating new spaces for health-care needs. The design brings a new L-shaped wing, housing, an integrated trauma centre, a mother-child unit, endoscopy and cardiology departments, and a medical device reprocessing unit. The addition is meticulously integrated with the existing facilities, expanding them while maintaining the sense of a single, unified hospital facility.

Patient treatment areas occupy the upper floors of the volume, clad with a glass curtain wall designed to stringent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) environmental criteria. They are punctuated by vertical bands of a masonry block from the original historic building and provide a sense of rhythm across the facade.

These areas appear to float above the glass-enclosed lower levels, where waiting rooms, lounges, cafes, and other semi-public areas enjoy sweeping views over the grounds and of the original building. The interiors are characterized by warm, calming materials, such as wood, while accommodating hygiene and cleaning facilities. A long artery connects the historic buildings with the modern wing, ensuring the seamless circulation of patients and personnel. From this axis, visitors can access the health-care spaces available at other pavilions via elevators and signage facilitating orientation directly integrated into the architecture.

The artery opens onto a welcoming entryway bathed in light and designed to double as a casual meeting place for professionals from various departments, students, and patients. The area creates a dramatic sense of arrival and offers a much-needed place to relax and take breaks, improving the workplace experience of doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff.

The design maximizes natural light and the views of nature at every turn—leveraging one of the site’s distinctive advantages: its bucolic setting—resulting in a calm and comfortable patient experience.

Some of the other project collaborators were the landscape architect firm, Vlan paysages, structural engineering company, SDK, and electromechanical engineering firms, BPA, and Stantec.

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