Whistle Bend Continuing Care Facility

  • area / size 202,000 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • Location Whitehorse, Canada,
  • Type Senior Care,
  • HDR designed a thoughtful space for senior care with the Whistle Bend Continuing Care Facility in Whitehorse, Canada.

    The Whistle Bend Continuing Care Facility is a long-term care facility in the Whistle Bend neighborhood of Whitehorse, Yukon. While remote, the city of Whitehorse sees many international tourists who visit this territory travel hub for quick access to breathtaking landforms, hiking and biking trails, a clear view of the aurora borealis and a community steeped in the First Nations culture. With increasing growth to the north, community members required a new long-term care facility that not only provides care, but also creates a community center for all residents to enjoy.

    A central Village Centre serves as the main entry and a link between the phase one and future phase two facilities. The Village Centre includes shops, services, day programs, multi-use rooms, a kitchen, laundry, storage, and staff and administrative spaces; it connects to four residential “neighborhoods,” each with their own front door that opens into family areas, activity spaces and private resident rooms. Bright, locally-relevant colors were used in the lodge-like facility to brighten an area that spends most of the year under accumulating or melting snow.

    The intent of the design was to create a comfortable, welcoming and non-institutional environment that feels like home and helps residents ease the transition from independent living to “living with care.” Features include small residential units, for quieter and more home-like family environments, plus private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and showers.

    The building will be integrated into the community, exposing residents to a range of events and activities. Residents will have easy access to landscaped outdoor courtyards and gardens, and ample daylight and views. The facility is designed to respect the existing built environment in Whitehorse, with elements such as bay windows, pitched roofs and gabled ends. The exterior incorporates materials that reflect the local climate, providing durability and ease of maintenance, including dichroic glass that changes color with the time of day resembling the colors of the aurora borealis.

    The facility will also house specialized spaces, including a 12-bed palliative care unit and a 12-bed specialized mental health unit. The entire facility is designed to accommodate residents with dementia and support all levels of care.

    The design-build project team consists of HDR with Derek Crawford Architects, and PCL Constructors Westcoast as the builder. This project is the first phase of a two-phase initiative. Phase one includes 150 beds, with support space sufficient for a 300-bed facility. Phase two would involve an expansion of another 150 beds.

    Architect: HDR
    Photography: Ed White