McMaster University Health Sciences Centre

Hamilton, Ontario

Client: McMaster Health Sciences Centre
Size: 1,761,000 sq.ft. (163,000 sq.m.)

Called “obsolescence-proof” by the World Hospital Congress, this four-level building was the first integrated patient-care, education and research complex to incorporate interstitial space with an incremental mechanical system. It has been recognized internationally as a truly innovative, award-winning building whose significance is rewarded even after 35 years. The building includes a 418-bed teaching hospital, 268,000 square feet of out-patient facilities, 267,000 square feet of teaching facilities for 900 students and 403,000 square feet of research facilities. Beneath the building is a 380,000-square foot underground parking garage for 1,000 cars on a single level.

A “servo-system” concept integrating structural, mechanical and electrical systems, separates permanent and changeable building elements for easy, economical future change, particularly in the research laboratories. Nine-foot deep, long-span, steel trusses throughout the complex allow for walk-in spaces in which horizontal mechanical / electrical services can be easily rearranged as needs change. Vertical service shafts with mechanical and electrical systems grouped around structural columns permit for 73.6’ x 73.6’ square column-free modules which give planning flexibility.


  • Ontario Association of Architects - Landmark Designation Award, 2014
  • Ontario Furniture Design Award - Award of Excellence, 1971
  • Canadian Architect Yearbook - Award of Excellence, Projects in the Design Stage, 1969