South Health Campus creates a village of wellness for the future of Alberta

Alberta Health Services

Year Completed



Alberta Health Services


Calgary, AB


1,000,000 SF


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Defining the future of healthcare for Calgary

By 2012, Calgary and its surrounding area had grown by over 35 percent since 1997. With its population boom showing no signs of slowing down, it was clear the region needed to increase its acute-care capacity. In 2005, the Calgary Health Region engaged us to create a state-of-the-art health care facility with a singular vision: ‘Creating the Future of Healthcare for Albertans’.


To support its growing community, the design needed to create a sense of place while also accommodating future healthcare models. With many key challenges to answer, South Health Campus needed to embrace a forward-looking philosophy of health and wellness to provide a restful, safe, clean and comforting environment for patients, staff and visitors ― both now and for years to come.



LEAN-optimized, patient-centred care approach

Our healthcare experts began decoding the future by analyzing the present ― to make the invisible visible. Start-up collaboration sessions were held over two days to discuss best practices for promoting healing and wellness through patient and family-centred care. Our intention was to determine what was already working and how a new design could drive improvements. Ongoing user and stakeholder consultation with hospital physicians, staff, patients, and community members, in conjunction with the University of Calgary Human Factors and Ergonomic Society, helped shape our discussions. With feedback from participants, combined with in-depth interviews, the future of patient-centred care in Alberta was born.



Built for future medical advancements

Like a pixelated jewel, the massing creates an immediate sense of place with its colourful, paneled façade. As if it had always been a part of the landscape, South Health Campus seamlessly complements the natural surroundings of the prairies, foothills, mountains and sky.

Scheduled to be opened in several phases, the project required detailed project management to maintain the highest standards. The first phase was completed in January 2013 with ambulatory outpatient clinics, mental health, diagnostic and inpatient services open to the public. The potential for expansion meant the design had to be flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate future needs.

Stretching 44 acres, the South Health Campus resembles a student village, aptly reflecting the campus concept. Each building is distinct yet interconnected, creating a ‘village feel’ rather than an institutional, monolithic coldness. An indoor, pedestrian public street extends east-west across the campus, connecting all services, creating direct access to parking. and providing direct circulation to all clinical services. This internal street is also the main circulation spine and contains street zoning for education, community activities, and multi-use, including retail, food and beverage amenities.

Other key functions support patient-focused, human-centric approaches to healing and wellness, helping to care for the patients, staff, and visitors that use the space. Patient rooms offer views of eight tranquil ‘healing gardens’. Decentralized nursing stations bring health care providers closer to patients, reducing travel distances between patients and stations. A ‘family area’ at the window of each patient room incorporates personalized lighting, privacy curtains and Internet access.


The South Health Campus has won a number of design awards, including the Canadian Construction Association’s ‘Excellence in Innovation Award’ and Alberta Construction Magazine’s ‘Project of the Year Award’.

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