Foothills Primary Care meets the needs of both staff and patients

Foothills Primary Care provides accessible and quality healthcare services to patients in their local community. They wanted a clinic that aligned with their staff's preferences and experiences, enabling them to deliver compassionate care and ensure easy access to healthcare services for their patients. The finished project is warm, comfortable, and human-centred.

Team Spotlight

Jenny Hassell

Project Lead

Emily Lang

Project Designer

Project Start Date: December 2022

Project Completion Date: July 2023

Square Footage: 2679 sq. ft.

The Challenge

Staff Satisfaction: Design a bright and contemporary workplace for physicians and staff. This includes prioritizing natural light, the functional use of the space, and communal areas to foster staff satisfaction and promote employee retention. We also needed to prioritize safety.

Non-Institutional Design: The client desired a design that offered a welcoming, comfortable, and patient-centred experience, rather than sterile or clinical.

Limited Space: The available space was limited, and it was a challenge to accommodate the necessary number of examination rooms, work areas, back-of-house facilities, and staff restroom.

Time: Delays in Contract Administration were encountered due to lead time issues, particularly with doors that exceeded the overall construction schedule.

The Solution

This design incorporates bold accent colours strategically placed in public facing areas, enhancing visual appeal and delineating different spaces within the facility.

In 2018, a survey by Future Workplace of 1,614 North American employees revealed that those with abundant access to natural daylight in their workplace reported a 51% decrease in eyestrain, a 63% decrease in headaches, and a 56% reduction in drowsiness. To ensure staff had access to ample sunlight, we situated staff areas along the perimeter! We also used full-length glazing to bring natural light into the interior.

With effective space planning, which involved situating rooms along the perimeter and establishing a central core for additional examination rooms, we successfully created the desired reception/waiting area. This approach also allowed us to accommodate the 12 examination rooms, barrier-free rooms, staff kitchen and offices, a washroom, pharmacy, autoclave, and a small closet for a washer and dryer.

To address the delays in Contract Administration caused by lead time issues, we opted to cancel the original door orders and procured replacement doors from a local source.

In addition to the design, the clinic is located on the third floor of a recently constructed University District building, providing convenient access to nearby amenities and enhancing the overall attractiveness of the workspace. Safety is our top priority, and we added an extra exit door through the existing corridor partition.

The Human-Centred Lens

We aimed to prioritize the comfort, safety, and well-being of patients, staff, and visitors. This project involved designing spaces that promote healing, reduce stress, and support efficient workflows.

Lighting: Decorative lighting in the reception area serves multiple purposes: it illuminates signage for easy navigation, highlights the texture of fluted wall paneling, and creates a welcoming ambiance. Similarly, decorative pendant lights in the staff kitchen enhance the atmosphere and contribute to a pleasant working environment.

Accents: Millwork nooks in the waiting area provide comfortable seating zones with textured back panels, adding visual interest and warmth. The incorporation of colour and decorative wood shelves suspended by metal accents enhances the reception area, making it feel more like a welcoming hospitality space rather than a clinical environment.

Flooring: The use of carpet tiles in the staff workspace helps reduce sound transmission, creating a quieter and more comfortable environment for staff members. This choice also adds a cozy feel, contrasting with the sterile surfaces commonly found in clinical settings, thereby promoting a more inviting atmosphere.

Examination Rooms: Soft muted colours within the examination rooms are chosen with the comfort of patients in mind. These colours create a calming and soothing environment, helping to alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation during medical appointments.

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Key Features

Acoustic Baffles

We installed acoustic baffles in the reception to expose the high structural deck, while simultaneously offering warmth and sound absorption.

Natural Wood

The use of natural wood in reception and staff are offered warmth, visual appeal, and a timeless aesthetic. Additionally, natural wood is durable, sustainable, and contributes to a healthier indoor environment by regulating humidity levels.

Glass Walls

By incorporating full glass walls, natural light floods the space, fostering a bright and airy atmosphere within the limited area.

Walls and Shelving

Millwork wall panels in the reception area serve to create cozy seating nooks, complemented by suspended shelving above for added functionality and visual interest.


Project Credits

Broker: Jash Sandhu, Colliers

Engineers: Embe Consulting Engineers Inc.

Contractors: Choice Specialty Services

Furniture: Tenant Supplied

Landlord: Mary Jo Kryczka, University of Calgary Properties Group

Photographer: Eymeric Widling