The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) needed an addition to accommodate its ever-expanding programs. A number of program departments, including Rehabilitation and Developmental Care, were housed in trailers, which were not easily accessible. A principal concern was ensuring that the addition would meet the accessibility needs of all patients, so the architect paid careful attention to creating barrier-free access to all spaces.

The new three-story West Addition provided an opportunity to improve efficiency by consolidating functions—including administration, doctors' offices, and genetics research— that were scattered throughout the building. A centralized reception area facilitates sharing of support services between administrative departments.

The architect recognized that there was great variation in the age range of pediatric patients and understood that the environment had to appeal to all patients. Bright colors against neutral backgrounds provide a child-friendly décor while addressing the need for an appropriate working environment for staff. Full-spectrum lighting and large windows create an open and inviting atmosphere. Playful touches, such as rotating colored marbles in light fixtures in the waiting areas, added an element of fun and fascination for children. Another innovation is the addition of cabinets in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. Built-in drawers allow therapists to access toys individually to avoid patient overstimulation.

CHEO also required new research laboratories to enhance the scope of its Research Institute to study children's diseases. As a grant-funded project, financial resources were limited. To address the budget constraints, the architect created a highly practical design that offered optimal functionality for each dollar spent.

Project category: New construction (West Addition completed November 2003; Research 2 Building completed August 2005)

Chief administrator: Gord Brown, Director of Physical Plant, (613) 737-2272

Firm: Parkin Architects Limited, (416) 467-8000

Design team: John Christie, Project Director; Lynne Wilson Orr, Project Architect, West Addition; Marian Rubino, Intern Architect, West Addition and Research 2 Building; David Driscoll, Project Manager, Research 2 Building; Robert Boraks, Project Manager, West Addition

Photography: William P. McElligott Photography; Richard Johnson, Interior Images

Total building area (sq. ft.): 62,462 (West Addition); 35,362 (Research 2 Building)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $180 (West Addition); $256 (Research 2 Building)

Total construction cost (excluding land): $11,230,423 (West Addition); $9,051,939 (Research 2 Building)


Devoting as much square footage to actual laboratory space as possible, the architect devised a single corridor system for each floor. This “spine” connects the elevator and ancillary areas to the wet laboratories, providing researchers with easy access to facilities, while ensuring an efficient arrangement of space.