The new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU North) is part of an ongoing redevelopment of multiple departments at the IWK Health Centre undertaken by Architecture49. The renovation takes the unit into the 21st century. After touring similar units throughout Europe and in Toronto, Architecture49 assisted the IWK in development of a vision for how their new unit should function. The unit, the first of it’s kind in the region takes the outdated, open bay care spaces and replaces it with 19 single family rooms.
The rooms are each equipped with a double sofa bed, washrooms with showers, optional partitions between baby and family spaces and leading edge technology. The unit was designed to feel more like a home environment than a hospital. Artificial skylights, wall art to cover medical gas panels and a calming interior design palette polish off the space.
The ability for families to stay together and provide care together within the unit alleviates pressure on the nearby Ronald McDonald House and prevents families from the financial burden of staying in hotels while their newborn remains in the hospital.