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Humber River Hospital


HOK are the Planning, Design and Compliance Architects for Humber River Hospital responsible for the project specific outline specifications (PSOS) and the Illustrative Design.

HDR Architecture are the architects to the Design, Build, Finance and Maintain consortium responsible for the design as constructed and are the Architects of Record.

Photos by Alina Cornea Architectural Photography

One of Ontario's largest regional acute hospitals, serving over 850,000 residents in the northwest Greater Toronto Area, University of Toronto-affiliated Humber River Hospital is the first fully-digital hospital in North America. Each year, its Emergency Program sees approximately 95,000 patients and the maternal newborn program delivers approximately 4,600 babies. Key features of this state-of-the-art healthcare centre include robotic blood testing (with results ready in minutes as opposed to hours), and the ability for patients to order food, use the phone, and control their lighting directly from their bedside terminal. Seventy five percent of supplies are delivered by automation, including robotic delivery of non-narcotics.

The results of the design work can be seen on all levels of the new 14-storey hospital. The building operations command centre, food court, retail shops, and the spectacular outdoor amphitheater are all located on Level 0. Uniquely, the site incorporates a natural slope which allows in more natural light than an average building's lower floor. Levels 1 through 14 offer a variety of services, including a comprehensive range of acute care services and support featuring the best technology available for patient's needs. This project has achieved LEED Gold certification and, under Infrastructure Ontario's DBFM procurement, this project exceeds the energy efficiency requirements of the Model National Building Code (MNECB) by 49%.

S + A Services Included:


Sustainability was a major component in this project, with mechanical systems that include a condensing dual fuel boiler plant, high efficiency chilled water plant, low velocity air handling systems, air and water side energy recovery and low flow plumbing fixtures for reduced water consumption. A 60,000 MBH boiler plant, integrated with the chilled water plant through the use of heat recovery chillers that allows waste heat from the chilled water plant to be recovered and used for building heating. The plant, arranged to provide N+1 redundancy, is able to meet the peak building load with the largest chiller, cooling tower or pump out of service

Air handling is provided by low velocity air handling units and ductwork that reduce air pressures drops and overall fan energy consumption (all air handling units operate at 100% outdoor air to provide increased ventilation and promote patient comfort and infection control). Critical areas, such as the Intensive Care Unit, feature parallel redundant air handling units providing full conditioning in case one unit is isolated for service.

Domestic water is provided via a system consisting of looped distribution with multiple risers throughout the building to provide redundancy and future flexibility. A copper silver ionization system prevents growth of bacteria within the system, while a hot water re-circulation system delivers hot water to any fixture within the facility within 10 seconds. Low flow plumbing fixtures reduce building water use by 35%. Green roofs and control flow roof drainage reduce the peak storm system flow, while storm water retention tanks hold storm water for building irrigation. The hospital also features highly redundant medical gas systems, an extensive pneumatic tube system, and N+1 redundant fire pump systems and several pre-action systems serving areas with sensitive medical equipment, such as CT scanners or MRIs.


Smith + Andersen was the electrical design engineer responsible for the electrical systems design as part of the Design-Build-Finance and Maintain team. S+A worked in close cooperation with the electrical and general contractor to optimize the design to meet construction priorities. Due to the critical nature of the healthcare facility, the electrical systems have been designed with a high level of redundancy and flexibility to maintain the operation of the hospital. Systems include dual incoming high voltage feeders, medium voltage synchronized generators setup to parallel with utility source (complete with load bank/temp generator permanent tie-in point), four medium voltage double end substations and nine low voltage emergency and normal distribution risers, extensive load management system, redundant 2N UPS system configuration, detailed power monitoring and metering that is integrated with the BAS for energy totalization, and a complex fire alarm and smoke control system. Lighting controls utilized both wired and wireless switch and sensor (occupancy and daylight) controls throughout the facility composed of approximately 90% dimmable addressable ballasts.


Smith + Andersen designed the infrastructure supporting the following systems on a common network in concert with the system integration and implementation schedules: nurse call, security, metering, monitoring, building control, wireless tracking, wired and wireless data and voice systems. Enhanced coordination between all systems enables interoperability to support the hospital operational work flows throughout the building.


With hundreds of physicians, employees, patients and visitors entering their doors each day, the elevated threat risks faced by healthcare facilities cause increased demands for access control and security systems. Staff and patients need to work and interact in a secure environment that promotes serenity and aid in recovery. To address these concerns, Humber River Hospital employs a facility-wide unified security system, infant protection, patient wandering, and duress alarm systems. In keeping with Humber's vision of a fully digital hospital, the security systems are fully integrated with building systems (e.g., elevator controls), clinical use systems (such as nurse call), and network systems that include unified communications to help improve operational efficiency and reduce risk.


Toronto, Ontario

Gross Floor Area

  • 1,830,000 sq ft

Total Construction Cost

$ 1,200,000,000

Completion Year



2015 Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships - National Awards for Innovation and Excellence - Gold (Infrastructure Award)

2016-2017 ASHRAE Society Technology Award - Category III - Health Care Facilities - New

2016 Engineering News-Record - Global Best Project

2015 Toronto Construction Association Large Project Achievement - Best of the Best Award