Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

“This handsome glass box exemplifies the best of contemporary urban architecture. It reveals as it connects — inside and out, form and function, city and building.”

Christopher Hume, Toronto Star, Doors Open supplement – May 2011

St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto approached Diamond Schmitt to consolidate academic research and medical education programs to accelerate the translation of bench-top discovery to bedside delivery. The new institute adds profile and address for these activities to take place. Spanning a downtown laneway, light-filled, double-storey lounges encourage collaboration between the 400 cross-disciplinary researchers. A graceful wishbone staircase connects these informal meeting spaces and enlivens the streetscape below. Eight floors of laboratories benefit from expansive glazing, providing natural light to workspace for researchers and transparency into the building, making visible the hospital’s commitment to the greater public good.

Completing the connection between research, education and patient care is a glass pedestrian bridge linking LKSKI with St. Michael’s Hospital. The graceful tubular white steel and glass enclosure resembles a stent, a medical device for opening arteries. It serves as a symbolic and physical connection of the flow between research and clinical practice.

From the large gestures of connection within and outward, to precise stainless steel details throughout, the building is a high performance environment in which inter-professional teams collaborate to bring established best practices and research discoveries to patient bedsides faster than ever before. The institute has strategically and dramatically transformed the image, essence and the reputation of St. Michael’s Hospital into a world class academic health science centre. Most importantly, the LKSKI has been a catalyst in changing the identity of St. Michael’s from a local institution, to a global resource for leading-edge therapies and healthcare practices.  

Client St. Michael’s Hospital
Completion 15/01/2011


Photography Tom Arban


Awards See all project awards
2012 Pug Awards, Peoples Choice Awards for Architecture – Honourable Mention, Commercial and Institutional Building
2011 Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, Ontario Chapter – Award of Merit, Architectural Category
Team See full project team