If I were the head of the Civic Hospital, and directing the planning for the new campus to be located to the east of the Farm, along the Carling escarpment, I think I’d be pushing for the first big building to be built on the western part of the site, above the escarpment.
My reasoning is thus: the building would be visible from the existing campus, making it seem close by. Everyone driving on Carling would quickly learn where it is. The parking lots would be a bit concealed behind the trees.
The lower level lands, adjacent the existing parking lot for Dows Lake and NRCan employees, could be used for parking, as is much of the area to the north. Juliana [temporary] park could be paved to augment or replace the lot north of Carling. And, the new hospital executive offices would have nice views. Done deal?
Of course, I’m not the director, I’m the skeptic off to the side. And I’d point out that hospitals aren’t built all in one go, but are organic complexes that grow over time. And building the first stage on the west side means that future stages would be built going towards the Carling OTrain transit Station. And these stages will occur over the next century or more.
Which means people walking to and from the hospital would have to navigate construction sites, mud, and detours for the next century. While those parking in the upper lots would whistle whilst walking though the trees.
If, however, I was planning the Hospital complex from a city building perspective, I’d start with the first building snuggled up close to the OTrain Station at Carling. (Of course, I’d leave room for the station to be someday expanded — perhaps when it is being double tracked — under Carling Avenue to the south side, so transit users, MUP users, and residents of the nearby high rise districts along Champagne, Preston, and Rochester wouldn’t have to cross the street at grade. That should thrill the traffic engineers).
Furthermore, I’d plan a spine through the hospital site, running southwest from the Station. This spine could be indoor street, or an outdoor street. I’d align the buildings for each specialty or medical department to be built along the spine, allowing organic growth. Every employee, visitor, patient … would have safe sheltered access to transit and to the live-work-play high rise neighbourhood along the train corridor.
But as I said at the opening, I’m the head of the hospital. I don’t take the bus or transit to work. And I certainly don’t live in a condo on Preston. I’ll take the new building on the highest ground with the nearest most pleasant parking.
Is anyone playing the role of city builder?