Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre

York University

York University commissioned the Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre (SHSRC) to build a capacity in health science research in accordance with its strategic research plan. The $11.5M, 50,000 sf project was an adaptive-reuse of a decommissioned hockey arena on York’s Keele campus. The facility includes research laboratories and support spaces for the Centre for Vision Research, including a tumbling room, sphere room, EEG for brain imaging, and visual-motor assessment laboratories, virtual reality environment, and infant visual development areas. The facility also houses laboratories for research into Kinesiology including a movement analysis lab. SHSRC also houses the first fMRI on the campus.

The design of SHSRC worked within the existing structure and footprint of the building. The interior was designed around the idea of an ‘internal street’ to create a social focus for the building, and provide a backbone for internal circulation. A mezzanine floor, which doubled the floor area, fronts the street and a linear skylight illuminates the area. The skylight is supplemented by a series of small punched openings along the exterior, allowing natural light without the heat loading associated with larger areas of curtain wall or windows. The concrete floor was maintained to highlight the edge of the arena and the 10’deep roof trusses were used to give offices and labs an open feel. The mechanical equipment was placed along the interior of the north wall, to avoid the cost of having to reinforce the existing single-span, trussed roof and to ensure that the roof of the low-lying building would remain aesthetically pleased to the current and future buildings around it. Additionally, the original landscaping and entrances to the building kept it isolated from the campus. The SHRSC project added a new exterior bridge and entrance which created a north-south pathway through the building and redefined the building’s connection and context within the campus.

The design of this adaptive reuse project is generally consistent with LEED standards, although the University opted not to obtain accreditation.

NXL (prime) in association with SSG Architecture (permitting); Crossey Engineering; Blackwell Bowick Partnership

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Completed 2010
Gross Area 50,000 sf
Construction $11.5M
Location Toronto, Ontario