Richard Johnson, Interior Images


Parkin Architects, Ltd., designed new Level 2 and NICU (Level 3) neonatal intensive care nurseries and new ante- and postpartum patient rooms, and expanded the existing birthing suite of the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC) site.

The old design of the NICU fostered and amplified sound and was very bright, with almost no way to control light levels. The open design resulted in lack of privacy throughout the unit. One goal of the new design was to achieve a variety of lighting levels for both caregivers and patients. Wall sconces were chosen—not only for their attractiveness, but also for their ability to provide a soft night-light level for caregiving.

Privacy, the ability to provide treatment without transferring infants around the unit, better working conditions for staff and a welcoming atmosphere for parents formed the mandate for the designers, in addition to the usual requirements of a technologically contemporary facility.

The new Level 3 NICU has been laid out in small pods with support facilities located away from the infant care areas, isolating noise-generating activities through careful placement and decentralization of supplies and environmental services. This has created a much calmer atmosphere. Each baby area has been divided into three zones: care, infant and family. Storage for parents' possessions, recliner chairs for “Kangaroo” care, message boards at each bedside, and screening walls and cubicle curtains for privacy at bedside have helped parents feel welcome and that they are part of their baby's care team. Staff charting areas are adjacent to the individual pods, with all support elements tucked away discreetly in cabinets
Richard Johnson, Interior Images

Inset Right: Before Renovation

Richard Johnson, Interior Images
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Multipurpose family spaces are located within each of the baby pods and can be opened to either or both of the adjacent baby care areas through sliding doors. They are used for family meetings, bereavement, care by the parents and as respite areas. Further support for parents is provided by overnight accommodations for newly discharged mothers of infants who are on the unit; a large family lounge complete with play area, private computer terminals and kitchenette; and three care-by-parent suites

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Finishes and materials were selected for their sense of pattern, touch and texture—and, more importantly, for their high performance in a healthcare setting. Each baby pod is color-coded with floor patterning, ceiling details and headwall finishes. A background of linoleum “flagstone,” inlaid with leaves, waves, flowers and lily pads, provides direct visual paths to entryways and points of intersection, and highlights reception areas and baby spaces. Calm, soothing hues were used as the base colors for walls, with highlights or accents in stronger colors to soften the high-tech, clinical feel
Richard Johnson, Interior Images

Inset Right: Before Renovation
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Designing the new unit was challenging, because the fourth floor of MUMC has a ceiling height of 8' 4” that had to be maintained, which limited the creation of higher ceilings in key areas.

PROJECT CATEGORY Remodel/Renovation (completed December 2001)

CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR Pilvi Oolup, Space Allocator Coordinator, (905) 521-2100, ext. 73340

FIRM Parkin Architects, Ltd., (416) 467-8000

DESIGN TEAM John E. Christie, Principal-in-Charge; Lynne Wilson-Orr, Project Architect; Marian Rubino, Intern Architect; Carolyn Russ, Intern, Interior Designer; Chandra Suchak, Project Manager

PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Johnson, Interior Images

BED CAPACITY 47 bassinets

TOTAL BUILDING AREA (SQ. FT.) 21,000

TOTAL LAND AREA N/A

TOTAL COST $9,500,000