Ronald McDonald House Manitoba

ft3 Architecture designed the new Ronald McDonald House Manitoba in Canada, emphasizing a home-like environment for families with children requiring medical care, with play structures and communal areas.

  • area / size 48,000 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Location Winnipeg, Canada,
  • Nestled on the corner of a mature, tree-lined neighbourhood—and a ten-minute walk from the City of Winnipeg’s main pediatric health facility—sits the new Ronald McDonald House Manitoba.

    A two-storey high play structure greets families upon arrival, anchoring the building to the site and providing a comforting sight to children requiring hospital care. Once inside, the lobby welcomes families into the house, sharing glimpses of the kitchen and play areas. It also provides access to the Magic Room, which sits behind a nondescript door.

    While we infused play and imagination into the home, the concept of a home away from home and the holistic health and well-being of the guest families, staff, and volunteers guided the form and function of our design. We were conscious of using materials that would not affect the children’s health or recovery from medical treatments and surgery.

    Spaces throughout the home encourage movement, gathering, and healing, allowing for moments of community and wellness. Guest families can relax in a living room warmed by a fireplace or prepare meals in the bright and spacious communal kitchen, where light pours through the floor-to-ceiling windows and brings sights of the courtyard’s healing garden and play area inside.

    Other gathering spaces inside the house allow for practicing yoga, watching movies, playing games, and making crafts, and a meditation room with an exhaust system for Indigenous families who want to smudge.

    Moving from the main floor towards floors two, three, and four, finds 40 individual bedrooms with private washrooms, including critical environment suites on the second floor. These critical environment suites possess enhanced safety and infection controls serving kidney or bone marrow transplant patients and their families (for post-transplant isolation), including separate elevators, entry points, and dedicated Energy Recovery Ventilators.

    We used the client’s brand colours of yellow, blue, and grey for accents on the main floor, including hints of these hues in the lighting fixtures, finishes, millwork, upholstery, and accent walls throughout the lobby and kitchen. Each residential floor also has one of these colours as a wayfinding tool, appearing on the stair railing, the carpet tiles, and the marker boards outside each suite.

    The project reached completion in September 2022. Before the new house opened, the client had to turn away over 358 families between 2019 and 2021. This project has given the organization an 186% increase in its mission delivery. In its first year, Ronald McDonald House Manitoba supported 490 families with 9,657 nights of accommodations and savings of $2.9 million in costly, out-of-pocket expenses.

    The new home offers an environment built on the intrinsic power of community, allowing families to stay together, and empowering them to stand strong in the face of uncertainty.

    Design: ft3 Architecture Landscape Interior Design
    Project Team: Jerald Peters, Adam Dubyna, Jessica Westervelt, Lindsay Imlah, Chantal Alary, Ryan Epp, Jennifer Atherton, David Reddy, Rex Bergado, Emerson Gonzales
    Photography: Emerson Gonzales