Project Category New Construction (completed May 2001)

CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR Lisa Favell, Director of Capital Projects, Cancer Care Ontario, (519) 434-3777

FIRM Vermeulen/Hind Architects, (905) 628-1500

DESIGN TEAM Mary Jo Hind, Principal, Design Architect; Chris Harrison, Principal, Design Architect; Fred Vermeulen, Principal, Project Architect; Doug Oliver, Design Architect; Jennifer Timmis, Interior Designer

PHOTOGRAPHY Ben Rahn/Design Archive





The Windsor Regional Cancer Centre reflects a true collaboration among client, host hospital and design team. By addressing the client's vision for patient-focused care, the hospital's concern for facility programming and the design team's interest in integrating the building into the site, the team created an exemplary healthcare facility.

The building is composed of two main areas for public and private activities. Public activities, including counseling, touch therapy, library and cosmetic services, are consolidated at the entry level that surrounds the main lobby and water garden. Private functions—those for treatment and follow-up care—are set farther into the building, affording a more personal and discretionary environment.

To create a state-of-the-art cancer-treatment facility that promotes confidence in the care being delivered and a calming, comforting environment, the design incorporates the essential elements of life: air, fire, water and earth.

Earth and water elements are evident immediately upon arrival. The entry sequence features a cantilevered canopy clad in cedar that shelters the patient drop-off area and defines the garden courtyard beyond. As patients arrive they experience the garden through the screens, hearing the soft splashing of the waterfall and catching glimpses of the plantings beyond. Other design elements, such as projecting rooflines, curtain walls, millwork and the composition of wall elevations continue the strong horizontal element of the canopy.

Air and fire are introduced at the entry in a bright, warm and inviting two-story main lobby with a fireplace, wood finishes and a glass curtain wall overlooking the garden courtyard. Principal corridors and waiting areas, located along the building's south and west perimeters, give patients frequent outdoor views, an abundance of natural light and a reference for wayfinding.

The design strives to balance the highly technical nature of the treatment equipment with the basic elements inherent in natural materials and patient comfort. The innovative, user-friendly design of the “doorless,” high-energy radiation-therapy rooms uses a maze-like circulation system and eliminates the heavy, lead-lined door of the past. This design has become the Provincial standard for radiation treatment rooms


Both the interior and exterior use a material palette of red brick, Ontario limestone and a range of wood species. Paint and plaster in colors of ochre and green further enhance the connection with the outdoor landscape and contrast with the clay brick and cherry wood panelling.