Casey House

Architect: Hariri Pontarini Architects

Owner: Casey House

Location: Toronto, Canada

Category B: Built: More than $25 million (construction cost)

The renovation and extension to Casey House, a specialized healthcare facility for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, develops a new prototype for hospitals. The facility meets the needs of patients in a setting designed to evoke the experience and comforts of home. In order to create a comfortable, home-like user experience, the embrace emerged as a unifying theme—one of warmth, intimacy, comfort, privacy, connectivity, and solidity. The architecture is a physical manifestation of the embrace. The extension reaches over and around the existing heritage designated building, which has been restored, while the new addition—a robust, textured exterior— surrounds the central courtyard. The landscaped courtyard is visible from every corridor and in-patient room and, given the private nature of the facility, provides protected outdoor space.  

Once inside, the experience is about engagement of the old and new, and the organization—the embrace—around the courtyard, which is the ever-present symbol of life-affirming green, water, and light (trees, fountain, and sunlight). The living room, the central gathering space, featuring a two-story atrium, is anchored by a full-height fireplace crafted from Algonquin Limestone. A bridge connects the heritage and new spaces on the second floor with long views stretching from end to end.

"A great project the goes beyond the stigma of AIDS. It is thoughtful, empathetic and dignified." ~ Jury comment

How this project improves patient healthcare

The spectrum of services offered by Casey House has broadened beyond palliative care; a day-healthcare program has become a significant part of their remit. In order to accommodate this diversification, private, semi-private and public floors were established, and program elements organized accordingly. In-patients, located on the third floor, are sheltered from the daily traffic of the out-patient facilities on the second floor (which services over 200 clients), while the ground floor remains a shared open space. The architecture provides for both the well-deserved moment of victory for Casey House by creating a visible presence in the city and an intimate dignity for patients still facing the stigma of the disease. The building expresses those dual sentiments making a strong visible statement on Jarvis Street, while the facade of the building is a complex grid of roman brick, different shades of limestone and dark glass that provides privacy for those within.

Additional information

Project attributes

Construction cost or anticipated construction cost: $30 million

Building area or anticipated building area: 59,000 sq ft

Construction start date or anticipated construction start date: March 2015

Substantial completion date or anticipated substantial completion date: September 2017

Project team

Acoustics: Swallow

Code Consultant: David Hine Engineering

Engineer - ME: WSP Canada

Engineer - Structural: Entuitive

Food Service: Kaizen Foodservice Planning

Heritage Consultant: ERA Architects

Landscape Architect:  Mark Hartley Landscape Architect  

Security: Mulvey & Banani  


Marlon Blackwell, FAIA (Chair), Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Vincent Della Donna, AIA, Jackson, New Jersey

Brian Uyesugi, NBBJ, Seattle, WA

Sunil Shah, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, California

Jim Henry, AIA, CallisonRTKL, Dallas, TX

Jocelyn Stroupe, CannonDesign, Chicago, IL

James Childress, FAIA, Centerbrook Architects, Centerbrook, Connecticut

Image credits

Casey House-06

Doublespace Photography


Doublespace Photography


Doublespace Photography


Doublespace Photography

Casey House-02

Doublespace Photography