New Watson Lake Hospital
Watson Lake, Yukon
Kobayashi + Zedda Architects, in association with DGBK Architects of Vancouver, was asked to adopt an empty, steel-framed building shell and convert it to a fully-functioning hospital. The biggest challenge was that the design of the existing shell was not well adapted to the natural grade of the site. The shell was essentially a bi-level design with the upper and ground floors split above and below the existing street.
The architects proposed an unorthodox solution to the problem by locating the emergency department on the upper level. This created a need for a large vehicle ramp to this level but in doing so, created a very functional division of program over the two levels. The design permitted the inpatient rooms to have upper level views of to the east and south and allowed for grade access for the busy medical centre on the lower floor.
One of the central organizing elements of the proposed Watson Lake Hospital will be the addition of a new clerestory light well. The clerestory will bring natural light deep into the upper and ground floors to improve the interior quality of staff occupying the building in those areas. The natural light will also serve as an organizing element that will assist with way-finding for new and frequent visitors to the facility with special emphasis on the ground floor. The common public waiting area will be located directly beneath the clerestory to enhance the area.
The main entrances have been designed to be secure and completely lockable while appearing light, airy and transparent. The lower level entrance will be comprised of staggered and angled wood columns that will create an abstract interpretation of the forests surrounding Watson Lake.