Halton McMaster Family Health Clinic

Designed by: TCA | Thier + Curran Architects Inc.




Located on Burlington, Ontario’s Joseph Brant Hospital campus, this new primary healthcare teaching clinic for McMaster University’s Department of Family Medicine upholds the key requirements of creating a comforting experience for patients, and a high quality staff working environment. The design reflects a very modest budget, with strategic use of richer, more expensive materials in high profile locations for maximum impact.







The lobby is a generous space with a backdrop wall of glass that offers views of Lake Ontario. Unlike a traditional waiting room, waiting seating is divided into three ‘pods’ that are less impersonal and more intimate in scale. These pods are divided with wood slat walls to maintain an open feeling while still instilling a sense of privacy. Two aquariums help further divide the space to break down its scale, offering a welcome distraction for children. The reception desk has three stations, each physically offset and shielded for privacy using a composition of wooden slats, botanical resin panels, and mosaic glass tile. A multi-toned green carpet tile has been laid in a herringbone pattern, lending a whimsical, welcoming, and dynamic atmosphere to the space.





Custom signage and circulation have been designed for clear, simple wayfinding. Ample daylight is afforded by large skylights over the lobby and team room and large expanses of windows. Zone doors allowed the clinic to be scaled down for evening and weekend clinics. Patient privacy is maintained through the use of translucent vinyl films. The clinic features touches of natural wood with American Black Cherry found on doors throughout and a combination of Sapele and Cherry on wall panels in select areas.





Patient exam rooms have been carefully designed for patient privacy and efficient ease of use for clinic staff. Built-in consult tables are oval-shaped to support clinician-doctor dialogue and collaboration. Mosaic tile and wall panels help soften and enrich these important spaces and ensure long-term durability. Soft, indirect lighting contributes to a calm and soothing environment for those not at their best with task lighting available for exams.





Private offices have been kept to a minimum in favour of having clinical staff share open desks in a central open team room designed to foster interdisciplinary interaction and casual interaction, breaking down silo thinking with non-hierarchical desks. A large staff room with varied seating options occupies a prime corner area of the clinic with water views and ample space for staff to collaborate, interact, and recharge. Direct access to a future outdoor garden will offer additional restorative space for staff.


On the second floor two Education Rooms facilitate training – an important component of this teaching clinic. A rooftop patio provides additional teaching and amenity space.





This project is a LEED candidate targeting Silver certification. Sustainable design initiatives focus on water efficiency, instantaneous hot water, efficient lighting performance, generous access to daylight, and the use of materials with recycled and rapidly renewable content.

Throughout the project, a broad palette of warm colours, finishes, and lighting have been carefully selected to create a dynamic environment with the primary goal of de-institutionalizing the space to create a positive experience for both staff and patients.






Owner/Client: McMaster University Department of Family Medicine
Architect: TCA / Thier + Curran Architects Inc.
Electrical/Mechanical/LEED Consultant: MMM Group Ltd.
Contractor: Bondfield Construction Company Ltd.
Photography: Tom Arban Photography Inc



Millwork: KOR Group
Lighting: Eureka, LZF Lamps, Flux, Propellor, Axis Lighting, Foscarini, Peerless
Window Blinds: Altex Decoration Ltd.
Flooring: Nora Systems, Forbo Flooring Systems, Tarkett Group, Interface Carpets
Wall Tile: Stone Tile International Inc., Daltile, Oceanside Glass Tile
Translucent Panels: 3Form
Countertops: Wilsonart International Inc., Aristech Surfaces
Signage: TCA Thier + Curran Architects / Wm. Whiteley Ltd.
Paint: ICI Dulux
Resin Panels: 3Form