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Site & Building Design

A unique building is being designed to effectively meet the needs of the children, youth, families and caregivers who will use the new centre.

21st Ave Closeup_web.jpg

This image is a conceptual interpretation of the proposed centre for health complexity, and the final design may differ. Courtesy of Arcadis/IBI Group.

The development will include:

  • A three-storey new centre for health complexity
  • An open green space, including a wellness loop and public art, with access for the community
  • A 74-space daycare in a stand-alone building, run by a licensed childcare operator.

A high-level design for the site was developed as part of the development permit application for the City of Vancouver.  The design will undergo further development in the next phase of the project. 

If you would like to be involved in the public engagement process during the next design phase, please visit the Engagement page for details.


You can see images of the preliminary design in the photo gallery or in this story.

Design principles

The building design is based on the following principles, which are aligned with the services that the centre will offer:

  • Welcoming, calm, and non-institutional
  • Honouring the land — its history, present and future — in partnership with First Nations and local residents
  • Connecting people to nature
  • Accessible and barrier-free 
  • Virtually connected to all of BC and Yukon. 

Sustainability and certifications

The project incorporates a holistic set of sustainable design measures. These include green mobility and transportation opportunities, water efficiency, energy efficiency, carbon emissions reductions, healthy and sustainable building materials, waste reduction, and a focus on indoor environmental quality. It will aim for a number of certifications.

The facility is required to achieve Gold Certification under LEED V4 for Healthcare Projects, as well as meet the requirements of the City of Vancouver’s Green Building Policy.


The centre will include encapsulated and exposed mass timber structural elements.  Mass timber is a low-carbon building solution that employs engineered wood products typically made of large, solid wood panels, columns, or beams. This will be the first hybrid mass timber health-care facility in British Columbia, incorporating a significant amount of mass timber as structural components.

The facility will be designed to achieve the Rick Hansen Foundation Gold Standard of Accessibility.

The centre will include a number of innovative spaces tailored for children with health complexity and their families:

  • Three-level accessible ramp and multi-storey atrium with views of the grove of trees
  • Welcoming patient and family spaces (consult rooms, quiet spaces, etc.)
  • All Nations Space, Elder’s room and kitchen, and healing garden
  • Family kitchen and dining areas, with access to an outdoor patio
  • Teaching kitchen
  • Multi-purpose recreation room
  • Family resource centre
  • Access to the outdoors from all levels through courtyards and patios 

We are partnering with the City of Vancouver to design the daycare to the Passive House energy performance standard.


Landscape design

The site design respects the mature grove of trees to the north of the proposed building, which will be made accessible to children in mobility devices and their families.  This green space is also widely used and valued by local residents, and will be open to the community. The compact footprint of the proposed centre opens up additional green space on the south-east corner of the site, at Kaslo Street and 21st Avenue. This area will be landscaped and will include seating.

The proposed landscape design includes two main pathways for patients, families, and the community: a wellness path and a healing loop. Path elements may include outdoor play areas, seating, and accessible pathways.

A community garden will be located in the northwest corner of the site, adjacent to the daycare. The garden will be run by a qualified third-party operator.

Transportation and parking

The main entrance to the centre will be from Slocan Street. A wide drop-off area will accommodate families arriving in larger vehicles carrying mobility devices such as wheelchairs.


The new centre design separates the various traffic streams. Service vehicles will use the Kaslo Street entrance, while patients and families will use the main entrance off Slocan Street. The daycare pick-up and drop-off will be from the lane in the north-west corner of the site.


There will be an underground parking lot at the new centre for patients, families, staff, and visitors. The lot includes an increase in the number of accessible stalls to serve the needs of patients and families. Some surface parking will also be retained on the Kaslo side of the site.

Excellent transit and cycling networks in the area will make it possible for staff and visitors to choose sustainable transportation options. The site is close to Renfrew and Nanaimo Skytrain stations, and serviced by multiple bus routes. The Slocan Street bikeway connects to the protected Central Valley Greenway, which provides
cycling facilities to downtown. Eighteen bicycle spaces are proposed for the new centre, as well as bike storage facilities and showers.


A 74-space daycare will be built on the north-west corner of the site, and will be open to families in the community. The daycare will likely open in 2028.

The daycare will be operated by a third party, which will be selected through a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The drop-off and pick-up will be through the laneway off Slocan Street, and some parking will be included.

If you are looking for information about the daycare located at the BC Children's Hospital Oak Street campus, please contact them directly at 604-879-4159. The Djavad Mowafaghian YMCA Child Care Centre is located at 4698 Oak Street, Vancouver.


The selection of the design-build team that will ultimately build the new BC Children’s Hospital centre for health complexity is a two-step competitive process.

Through the request for qualifications (RFQ), we chose three qualified proponents who were invited to participate in the next step of procurement, the request for proposal (RFP). The proponents are: 

  • Ledcor Design-Build (B.C) Inc.
  • Pomerleau Inc.
  • Bird Design-Build Construction Inc.
The RFP was issued on October 27, 2023 and closed on April 5, 2024. We are now in the evaluation and selection process of a preferred proponent. We hope to announce the winning team in June 2024.

SOURCE: Site & Building Design ( )
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