Public Health Ontario (PHO) is a Crown corporation dedicated to protecting and promoting public health. The institution sought a new facility that would provide flexible space to meet current and emerging clinical and public health needs and be adaptable to emerging functions and testing technologies.
The new headquarters for PHO is located in downtown Toronto on the upper four floors of the Phase 2 Tower in the MaRS (Medical and Related Sciences) Discovery District. The 160,000-square-foot facility accommodates 400 researchers and staff.
A simple circulation strategy allows the laboratory and administrative floors ample natural light and views that extend deep into the plan. The specialized testing labs and research labs incorporate mobile casework with a transparent wall system. Large glass modules in the casework walls allow the segregation of labs while taking advantage of sunlight and exterior views to maintain the qualities of an open-plan lab.
A four-storey interconnecting stair forms the central spine that is adjacent to lounges and meeting spaces on each floor. The intent is to encourage informal collaboration and interaction among scientists, researchers and staff. A continuous wall adjacent to the stair is the site of a major installation that was envisioned to animate and reinforce the coherence of the space, to resonate with the staff and guests and to sustain interest over time.