In a time when a good deal of Toronto's religious community is amalgamating into fewer buildings and some of the underused churches are being transformed into condos or performance spaces, it's rare when we see new faith-based facilities under construction. When we do see it though, these facilities have often been some of the more architecturally adventurous recent builds. Such is definitely the case for one of the oldest religious orders in the city, where the Sisters of Saint Joseph have land perched on the rim of the Don Valley at O'Connor Drive and Broadview Avenue. The sisters are moving into a new home that puts a good to deal of new construction in the city to shame.
The Sisters of St. Joseph have been around for over 150 years and in that time have founded local institutions like St. Michael's Hospital as well as St. Joseph's Health Centre. The 58 Nuns who range in age from 75 to 98 will occupy the new 96,000 square foot four-storey facility as part healthcare facility and part residence. Part of their mission statement regarding the new home reads:
“The new home of the Sisters of St. Joseph will be a sacred space dedicated to nurturing community and providing a base for continued ministry and outreach. It will demonstrate simplicity, beauty and wise use of materials and spaces.”
We have several recent terrific photos of the project courtesy of UT Forum member thedeepend.
This impressive 40 million dollar structure was designed by renowned Shim-Sutcliffe Architects—who had not previously designed a healthcare facility. The main floor consists of a large lobby along with a circular green-roofed chapel, surrounded by a reflecting pool, while the second and third floors will serve as a care centre for the residents, with the fourth level containing assisted living units for the Nuns.
The entire project was designed with utmost attention to enviromental sustainability through its use of solar panels, rain-collection barrels, geothermal heating and cooling. In an effort to reduce water runoff permeable pavers have been employed in the parking lot while a green roof has been planted on the building.
The Sisters of St. Joesph expect that as their aging order shrinks that they will accept Nuns from other orders to fill the beds as time goes on.
UrbanToronto hopes to tour inside the facility in a couple months time to highlight some of the outsitanding work here. In the meantime, for more infomation and several more pictures check out our Forum thread here.