Quebec's architects embrace challenge of designing optimal health care environment


The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is thrilled that award-winning Quebec architects have stepped up to design the health centre's two campuses—a challenge that will put their combined experience and expertise to the test as the $1.579B project unfolds.

"Our community has been waiting a long time for new facilities. We have an ambitious functional and technical programme and clinical plan," stated Dr. Arthur T. Porter, Director General and CEO of the MUHC. "Our architects must work with a fixed budget and reconcile our high expectations against their architectural vision. I'm sure they're up to it!"

The consortium brings together the talented firms of Les architectes Lemay et associés, Jodoin Lamarre Pratte et associés architectes, André Ibghy Architectes and Menkès Shooner Dagenais Letourneux. The renowned firms of Moshe Safdie & Associates and Perkins+Will will contribute additional strength and vision.

"One of the project's objectives is to create a healing environment with an appropriate human scale that integrates harmoniously into the city's urban fabric," stated Louis T. Lemay, Senior Architect and President, Les architectes Lemay et associés.

The MUHC is a research-intensive institution that provides clinical care across the entire spectrum of ages and teaches the next generation of health care professionals. The Redevelopment Project will consolidate the MUHC's services onto two campuses—the Mountain and the Glen. While each campus has particular challenges, the architects will need to create an overall environment that promotes optimal efficiency for all users.

"Our association with the MUHC at the programming stage allowed us to quickly grasp this project's importance. The scope compares favourably with prestigious projects that we've had the privilege of visiting around the world," remarked Michel Broz, Senior Architect and Partner, Jodoin Lamarre Pratte. "We want to help the MUHC achieve its objectives and provide Montreal with a health care institution that will be an international reference from a functional, operational, architectural and aesthetic perspective."

The Glen Campus is a 43-acre site with green space and ample room for future expansion. Designing a campus that will meet the needs of various groups is no small feat, especially when the goal is to create a village-like complex for children and adults.

"Understanding a child's unique perspective of the world, with all of his or her fears and apprehensions during a hospital visit, is critical. The careful use of scale, colour and wayfinding clues are ways to embrace that world and attain our design objectives," noted André Ibghy, Senior Architect, André Ibghy Architectes. "The design for the Montreal Children's Hospital must bring form to the hospital's commitment to a supportive, family-centred environment. In addition, it will need to promote its historic identity while ensuring a harmonious integration with other campus members."

The Mountain Campus will modernize the Montreal General Hospital and provide a new pavilion for the renowned Montreal Neurological Hospital. As time is a life-saving factor in much of the care provided in these facilities, adjacency of services such as the tertiary trauma bay, operating suites, imaging rooms and intensive care and coronary care units is crucial.

"With the Mountain Campus, we have a unique opportunity to integrate the hospital complex more subtly into the fabric of the city," stated Anik Shooner, Senior Architect and Partner, Menkès Shooner Dagenais Letourneux. "We can also make the access between the city and the upper reaches of the mountain a pleasant experience."

Among the long list of Quebec and Ontario projects that can be attributed to the consortium's partners are the Centre hospitalier Pierre-LeGardeur, the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Sherbrooke, the Cité de la santé Laval, the Cancer Centre of the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, the Centre hospitalier Anna Laberge, the Héma-Québec Laboratory, the Centre hospitalier de St-Eustache, the Centre hospitalier Pierre-Boucher, École polytechnique de Montréal, the Centre des technologies de l'aluminium, the Université de Montréal's Marcelle-Coutu, Jean-Coutu and Joseph-Armand Bombardier pavilions, the Campus de Longueuil (Cité du savoir), Université Laval's Research Centre and Biochem Pharma's research laboratories. The architects have also carried out projects around the world, including Burkina-Faso, New Delhi and Kuwait, and contributed to preliminary activities related to the MUHC's Redevelopment Project, such as architectural pre-concepts and studies.

The MUHC has registered the Redevelopment Project with the Canada Green Building Council and is seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification—a benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings—for its Mountain and Glen campuses.

About the MUHC Redevelopment Project
Guided by its mission and its role as the nerve centre of the McGill integrated university hospital network, the MUHC is carrying out a $1.579-billion Redevelopment Project that will help the government achieve its vision for academic medicine in Quebec. Excellence in patient care, research, education and technology assessment will be fostered on two state-of-the-art campuses—the Mountain and the Glen—and through strong relationships with health care partners. Each LEED-registered campus will be designed to provide patients and their families with "The Best Care For Life" in a healing environment that is anchored in best sustainable development practices, including BOMA Go Green guidelines.

About the MUHC
The MUHC is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research, teaching and technology evaluation. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University: the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological hospitals, and the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.

For more information, please contact:

Contact Information

Judith Horrell
MUHC Redevelopment Project
judith.horrell [at]
Office Phone: 
514-934-1934 ext. 71368