Architectural Record recently showcased Toronto’s Casey House, one of the only independent HIV/AIDS hospitals in the world. With its 2017 expansion designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA), the purpose-built health care facility features Rockfon acoustic stone wool ceiling products.
Supporting the comfort and wellness of both patients and staff, Rockfon ceiling systems not only contribute to the hospital’s welcoming, clean, dignified, modern appearance, but also to its acoustic performance, light reflectance and sustainability goals.
Please click here to download a digital reprint of the Architectural Record article.
Expanding with compassion and connection
Celebrating 30 years of compassion, Casey House now incorporates the renovated 1875 Victorian home that has served as its hospice with a new, 59,000-square-foot, U-shaped addition surrounding a landscaped courtyard.
Buildings affect many important aspects of human existence. We spend roughly 90 percent of our lives indoors, so the quality of the buildings contributes significantly to our health, our wellbeing and our sense of purpose. Renovating and expanding on existing buildings also can contribute to the vibrancy and public perception of the neighborhood. Incorporating energy-efficient and natural building materials further contribute to the wellbeing of both the local and global community.
Reflecting these attributes, Casey House’s $30.8 million expansion also physically and aesthetically connects to the original facility. According to HPA, “The façade of Casey House, consisting of a palette of various brick, heavily tinted mirrored glass, and crust-faced limestone, is highly particularized and rich, and becomes the architectural manifestation of the quilt – a symbolic expression of the battle against HIV/AIDS.”
Old and new building sections are joined with a tall, transparent lobby, where Rockfon Alaska® ceiling panels were installed by Bird Construction. The elegant, smooth, white surface of these panels also provide excellent sound absorption for this central gathering spot. At night, the warm glow from the interior stands as a beacon of healing and welcome for its patients, many of whom have been without a home and have suffered trauma in their lives.
“When our clients are some of the most vulnerable in this city, this is the one place that they can come that offers them a judgement-free, stigma-free, compassionate place, where they can live who they are,” said Casey House CEO Joanne Simons.
Casey House provides a full range of medical and wellness services to help people living with HIV/AID from support with medications, managing mental health and early dementia to compassionate end-of-life care. Casey House has a holistic approach to health and well-being, which focuses on partnering with other organizations and caring for the whole person, not just their diagnosis of HIV, and is proud to be on the forefront of providing a new model of health care.
Embracing life, nature and light
HPA’s principal Siamak Hariri reiterated, “The vision for Casey House was really born from compassion, and what emerged was this idea of the embrace.” In the Architectural Record article, he added that his firm’s design for the hospital seeks to “create a sense of warmth, intimacy and care.” This includes a floor plan that balances privacy with personal interactions and building materials that connect the occupants with nature. Along with the limestone and walnut millwork, Rockfon stone wool ceiling panels are made from natural, abundant basalt rock.
The numerous window views, such as those overlooking the courtyard, also keep patients and staff aware of their surrounding natural environment and community. “A lot of effort was made that light comes into the project from multiple vantage points, which I think are really important to somehow give you that sense of upliftment,” emphasized Hairi. “All of these things are elemental to affirming this desire for life.”
Maximizing the windows’ natural light more deeply into the hospital’s interior corridors, Rockfon Alaska and Rockfon Tropic® white ceiling tiles reflect 86 percent of light. More effective and efficient use of natural light contributes to reduced energy use and associated carbon emissions. The surface of these ceiling panels also helps diffuse the light to minimize glare on television screens and computer monitors, thereby reducing associated eye strain and discomfort.