By 2018, the Montreal skyline will feature a bit more greenery. This isn't because buildings are being torn down and trees planted, however, but because one of the biggest construction projects ever undertaken in the city will have seven different green roofs. It’s called CHUM (an acronym for Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, and pronounced "shoom"), and by the time the rooftop gardens are completed, it will be the largest hospital facility anywhere in North America.
The $2 billion, 772-bed facility is seeking LEED Silver status and seems likely to precipitate a paradigm shift in the way that health care is done. Architects at Canon Design designed the building with a gleaming glass wall on the exterior that will translate to a cheery, light-filled space for patients inside. The glass chosen for the windows is triple glazed, which helps to reduce the building’s energy use by 40 percent over baseline standards.
High tech features, earthiness, and historic architecture are seamlessly intertwined in every fold of this 3 million square foot project. An historic church was preserved on the site and has been repurposed to form a cathedral-like entryway into the hospital at street level. A Metro stop (Montreal’s subway system) will whisk visitors into the building from underground, where they can access a system of elevators, escalators, and tunnels to get them to their destinations quickly and smoothly. Behind its walls, CHUM will feature a state-of-the-art WIFI robotics system that delivers food, medicine and clothing, while removing bio-waste, trash and recyclables.
The high tech side of the hospital will be evident throughout but when patients open the doors to one of the seven roof gardens incorporated into the complex, they will be greeted by fresh air and plants—two time-tested remedies for any ailment. The gardens, designed by the innovative Montreal-based firm NIPpaysage, will be planted with traditional medicinal herbs; these aren’t to be picked by passersby, but perhaps their presence alone will support the healing process through osmosis.