Contract tours the new SickKids research center in Toronto

During my recent trip to Toronto to attend IIDEX, I took part in a tour of the new Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects. Located in downtown Toronto, the new facility will be home to more than 2,000 scientists and features state-of-the-art laboratories and learning facilities that are designed to support collaborative work. The 750,000-square-foot building is believed to be the largest child health research tower in the world.

The hospital is divided into six research neighborhoods, each spanning two or three floors. The pièce de résistance of the 21-story project are the atrium spaces that connect the floors of each neighborhood. Curvilinear glass by windows provide stunning views of the Toronto skyline and allow for natural light to flood the space.


An interior of a neighborhood atrium. Photo by Cody Calamaio

The wave-like glass bay windows are a defining feature of the facade.

SickKids Exterior

Exterior of the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning. Photo courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The collaborative spaces inside the neighborhood atriums encourage researchers to interact. The staff was  previously housed in six separate buildings before the opening of the new research center.


My tour group peers down onto the lower floors inside one of the atriums.      Photo by Cody Calamaio


Comfortable lounge furniture fills the atrium and encourages collaboration.    Photo by Cody Calamaio


Connected by stairs, the space also has lounges, kitchenettes, and whiteboards. Photo by Cody Calamaio

Flexible laboratory space was an important element of the design, which needed to accommodate a diverse range of research needs.


A wet lab with modular mobile benching. Photo by Cody Calamaio


Mike Szabo, a principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, gives a tour of the wet lab. Photo by Cody Calamaio


Workspaces inside the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning. Photo by Cody Calamaio

A 250-seat auditorium features teleconferencing equipment for distance learning.


The elliptical shape of the auditorium provided an acoustic challenge for the architects. Photo by Cody Calamaio.


A multicolored donor wall is visible near the entrance of the building. Photo by Cody Calamaio.


The John Francis and Susan Caskey Gallery provides flexible space for holding large gatherings. Photo by Cody Calamaio.


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