An Inside Look: Hospital of the Future, Surrey Memorial Hospital

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Architects and design teams are changing the perception of hospitals. Instead of cold, non-descript hallways and unwelcoming common spaces, the ‘hospital of the future’ is patient- and visitor-focused, with extensive daylight, warm design, and public art. This shift to a “salutogenic” (factors that support human health) approach not only improves the hospital experience in non-tangible ways, but results in decreased patient recovery times.

A recently completed example of ‘hospital of the future’ concepts in action is Surrey Memorial Hospital’s new critical care tower. MMM Group served as mechanical / electrical, IT, heliport, civil, transportation planning, and sustainability consultant for this more than $500M expansion project designed by Parkin Architects and CEI Architecture. A few of the features include:

  • an easy-to-navigate floor plan
  • dedicated green space
  • access to gardens and views
  • generous use of natural light
  • non-denominational quiet space
  • improved indoor air quality and ventilation
  • eHealth capability
  • a robust structure to allow for future renovations and expansions and to meet post-disaster needs
  • building well-integrated into established, central neighbourhood to encourage a ‘home’ feel
  • doors open with a wave of a hand
  • nurses’ stations with a diamond-shaped, 45-degree configuration to maximize views of patient rooms and efficient pedestrian movement

Here are a few photos of the beautiful and inviting lobby, which uses warm colours, shapes, and materials (such as sweeping wood canopies):

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As a LEED Gold candidate, the eight-storey Critical Care Tower was designed to include evidence-based energy efficiency and sustainability features:

  • low-off-gassing materials, including using rubber (which also provides natural cushioning for comfortable walking) instead of laminate or carpeting for flooring
  • use of REVIT computer modeling to ensure efficient and effective integration of existing, current, and future building needs and BIM modeling to coordinate multi-discipline design and construction
  • 14 electric vehicle plug-in stations and preferred parking
  • over 50% FSC-certified wood
  • air-to-water heat pumps with heat recovery to eliminate need for cooling towers, lower the risk of Legionella bacteria, and double the COP by producing cooled water and low-grade heat from the same unit simultaneously
  • energy cost savings of 59% predicted using energy modeling software
  • combination of LED, T5, T8, ultra-low-wattage signs, occupancy sensors, fluorescent-dimming systems, and mercury-free lighting

Other key features that show important steps forward in healthcare include isolation rooms created so that incidences of infectious diseases don’t shut down the whole hospital, and HVAC systems that are controlled in separate zones with buffers between them.
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The project – the largest healthcare project in BC history to date – was completed with staged permit and construction packages to ensure a fast-tracked process to meet the demanding P3 project schedule.