TORONTO – Diamond Schmitt Architects has received a Merit Award from CODAworx for transforming a children’s hospital clinic into a welcoming space designed to engage young patients and their families. The international awards program recognizes collaborations that integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural, or public spaces.
The revitalized CIBC Just for Kids walk-in clinic at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto creates a stress-free zone where secret peepholes offer views into imaginary worlds and interactive projections and sculptural forms invite discovery and play.
“The idea of integrating artwork came from the need to think beyond the architectonics of the space in order to really connect with the end users, the children,” said Sydney Browne, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. “By collaborating with Sydney Smith, a professional children’s book illustrator and Mike Ellis, an artist specializing in small-scale haptic environments, the project systematically became more “child-friendly”, an important requirement set by the client.”
Another element to re-cast the department as a children’s place entailed adding recognizable features from the community, such as fanciful illustrations of animals from a nearby zoo riding a Toronto streetcar. The art also serves as a means of improving patient way finding and creating greater presence and identity for each distinct program element in the 8000-square-foot clinic.
“The need to provide positive distraction in a durable, warm and welcoming environment with opportunities for discovery that could unfold over several visits has yielded a complex and textured result,” added Browne. Please see this video press release with photos, interviews and animation that demonstrate the features of this unique space and experience. http://dsai.ca/just-for-kids/
Diamond Schmitt has previously won two CODAawards for embedding an interactive lighting feature in the façade that wraps around the Ryerson Image Centre, and a four-storey wall installation at the office and laboratories of Public Health Ontario comprised of 8,000 stainless steel rods and tubes to create an abstraction of the SARS virus as seen across four microscopic scales magnified to monumental size.
“The CODAawards recognize the importance of collaboration, and honor the design and art professionals whose collective imaginations create the public and private spaces that inspire us,” said Toni Sikes, CEO of CODAworx.
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is based in Toronto. Informed by urbanism, driven by design, the firm’s portfolio includes work for the healthcare sector, including life science facilities, research laboratories and hospitals. Equally extensive are designs completed for the performing arts sector, institutional, residential and commercial buildings, and academic facilities.