St. John Ambulance NS/PEI Headquarters

Student-centred, flexible learning environments. Dartmouth, NS

Nycum worked with St. John Ambulance (Nova Scotia/PEI Council) to create a memorable experience for students enrolled in first aid training, while providing instructors with flexible classrooms and other facilities that support multiple teaching and learning styles. The design brief was to provide an intuitive, comfortable, accessible and memorable experience for students who might only use the facility once every two years, while consolidating administrative instructor support and warehouse functions.

The facility supports the needs of a province-wide instructor program where instructors collect materials such as ACTARs (CPR training aids) and manuals in the morning, returning them at the end of the day to be cleaned, processed and stored. Atlantic administrative headquarters for St. John Ambulance (SJA) are also housed in the building.

A clear floor plan for the building carefully arranges the functions to be discrete, yet linked where they support and enhance one another. The straightforward design means that students, administrative staff and instructors are all accommodated and supported. Through careful planning, development of multi-use spaces, careful material selections and a close working relationship with the Contractor, the new SJA headquarters provides highly functional and low-maintenance and cost effective facilities.

The new building, located in Highfield Park in Dartmouth utilizes very efficient heating, ventilation and lighting systems to produce comfortable, low-maintenance environments that are highly energy efficient. Heat pumps allow excess heat from high-occupancy areas to be reused in heating low-occupancy areas. The same equipment allows morning solar heat gain on the more highly glazed eastern side of the building to be transferred to the colder western side of the building.

The new headquarters for SJA needed to serve the programmatic functions of training, education and administration, but also maintain a sense of brand identification with the larger national and global non-profit organization. The building maintains a low, single-storey profile and employs variation in massing, roof lines and material to break the building into smaller, less imposing forms – more in keeping with the character of the surrounding neighbourhood. Site lighting was carefully selected and oriented to minimize light disruption to the adjacent properties, while providing adequate security lighting after hours.

Our services on this project included: Building assessment, functional programming, site assessment and recommendation, architecture and interior design, and contract and construction administration.

Awards: Atlantic Wood Design Awards 2016 - Jury's Choice Award

Photography: Deborah Nicholson, except first and last by William Nycum & Associates Limited

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