The Hay River Health Center is organized along a “sunny street”, a main public circulation system linking acute care with community health services. With large south-facing windows capturing plenty of sunlight, the street connects the facility’s main departments and is the key way-finding element within the building. The cafeteria and waiting areas located along this spine take advantage of the area’s abundant summer daylight and connect patients directly to the outdoors, reinforcing a natural healing environment.

Additionally, decorative elements further reinforce holistic wellness at the health center. Large photo murals by a local artist, Adam Hill, populate the Sunny Street area. Taken together the design elements of the Sunny Street approach will ensure that outpatient experiences are low-stress and pleasant as possible, minimizing hospital stays and emphasizes ambulatory care.

Mirroring the sunny street, a secondary main corridor services mostly staff-only areas such as laboratories, diagnostics, acute care and emergency department. This two-corridor approach effectively creates a gradient of intensity across the building, allowing patients and staff to more easily find their equilibrium at any given time.

The heating and hot water system includes a component not usually associated with a health care centre. Supported by propane boilers, a 750 kW wood pellet boiler supplies almost 80% of building’s heat requirements during normal operations. This novel system cuts the operating costs significantly for the facility, as wood pellet-fired heating is more cost effective then propane in remote locations such as Hay River.