New St. Paul's

‘Embraced by nature’: BC landmarks inspire interior design of new St. Paul’s Hospital

Rendering of the lobby and elevators inside the new St. Paul's Hospital.
A rendering of the interior of the new St. Paul's Hospital.

The New St. Paul’s Hospital Project Team has unveiled the interior design themes for the new hospital – and nature will play a starring role.

Public- and patient-facing spaces will feature colours and graphics inspired by BC nature and honour the traditional ancestral territories of the three host Nations – the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh – which the campus is built upon.

“The inspiration for the new hospital’s interior design is ‘Embraced by Nature,’ which I feel is very appropriate for BC,” says Jayson Hodgson, project manager for architectural and clinical design components with the New St. Paul’s Hospital Project Team. “The aim is to create an experience for patients, staff and our community that’s calming, inclusive, open and friendly. All while showcasing local West Coast nature landmarks and honouring the traditional territories of the three host Nations.”

The hospital will feature three main nature themes throughout: grounded nature, cool respite and forest retreat. Each floor will reflect one BC landmark through colour and illustrations, which will act as beacons to elevators, stairs, departments, care team stations, reception and waiting areas.

Although these landmarks will inspire the floor’s graphical elements and will complement the directional wayfinding signage, the floors won’t be named after them.

“Naming throughout the site is being reviewed in collaboration with the Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation team” explains Zerina Hotic, project manager for wayfinding and signage for the New St. Paul’s Hospital Project. “We want to honour what the host Nations would like represented.”

As Providence is committed to the process of Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the Project Team is actively working with the Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation team to engage nations in a meaningful way.This includes gathering and applying feedback from the sovereign host Nations, Knowledge Keepers and Elders, Indigenous organizations, patients, families and caregivers.

Mother Nature’s colour palette

Blue-greens or turquoise colours will be a prominent part of the interior design on the first three floors.
The inspiration for the first three floors of the new hospital is ‘Grounded Nature’ using bluey-greens or turquoise colours to reflect Pacific Spirit Park, Bowen Island and Stanley Park.
Blues and purples will be a prominent part of the interior design of the East Tower.
The East tower’s theme will be ‘cool respite’ and uses blues and purples to reflect water landmarks like English Bay, Lost Lagoon and Burrard Inlet.
Greens will be a prominent part of the interior design of the West Tower.
Forest Retreat is the inspiration for the West tower, using greens to remind people of hiking places like Mount Seymour Provincial Park.
Bright colours differentiate parking zones in the parkade.
Meanwhile, the parkade uses brighter colours to help people remember where they’ve parked.

A collaborative design process

Coming up with the interior design themes for the new St. Paul’s Hospital has been a labour of love for everyone involved. Since early 2021, the project team has been collaborating with various groups, including staff and physicians, to ensure spaces in the new hospital will meet the needs of patients and staff. Patient partners, like Ken Wiecke, have played a key role in this process.

Ken Wiecke

Wiecke is no stranger to St. Paul’s Hospital and its staff. For more than 20 years, Wiecke has been coming to the hospital for treatments and procedures ranging from dialysis to kidney transplants to open heart surgeries. So when the project team wanted patient input into the design of the new hospital, they asked Wiecke.

“I really thought about the patient experience. How would you navigate the new hospital if you’re tired or confused, or if your family is coming to visit?” says Wiecke. “I really like the final interior design themes, with the general colours and the different parts of our region represented. They make features like stairs, much more noticeable, which will make the hospital easy for patients and families to navigate for years to come.”

Construction on the new hospital is well underway and will continue until 2026 before it opens to patients in 2027.

Story by: Justine Ma, New St. Paul’s Hospital Project