Queen Richmond Centre West
Sweeny Sterling Finlayson &Co Architects Inc.
Three main site issues were the impetus for the Queens Emergency Medical Services (EMS) building: 1. Capitalizing on the energy of the sloping street to create a dynamic identity 2. Resolving the conflicting scale issues of the neighborhood to create a unified street 3. Protecting an existing underground utility tunnel that traversed the site The first impetus was the strongly sloping site that inspired a continuously inclined form. The building rises up and out of the sidewalk following the lines of the street and culminating in a dynamic cantilever that overhangs the entry to the parking lot. The diagonal form anticipates movement, embodying the programmatic reality of immediate action required of EMS workers. The second issue, the scale conflict between the large hospital and the tiny houses, is also resolved through the continuously inclined form. The sloping double story volume echoes the section of the tiny houses across the street. At the same time, the length of the building works with the large scale of the adjacent hospital, while simultaneously forming a "dam" along the street that protects the houses. The third and perhaps most challenging consideration, was an existing, underground utility tunnel which courses across the entire site. It is the invisible presence of the tunnel that led to the structural approach. A long span truss/bridge uses two abutments to direct foundation loads away from the tunnel and lift the second floor creating the structure of the continuously rising form and the dramatic cantilever.