Eberhard Zeidler, Senior Partner Emeritus at Zeidler Partnership Architects has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) at the Healthcare Design 09 Conference This award, which is the highest honour bestowed by the ACHA, is in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of healthcare architecture.
Eb Zeidler’s first project before immigrating to Canada, the Rontgen Institute in Germany, sparked his interest in hospital design which set him on the path for an illustrious, international career as a architect with an emphasis on healthcare. While his works in healthcare are primarily visible throughout Canada and the United States, the effects of his achievements have resonated beyond North America. With a dedicated passion to explore and develop how the healing process is inseparably linked to our emotional state, Zeidler Partnership Architects’ projects strive to find better ways to respond to human architecture, to involve the family in the recovery of the patient and to ensure flexibility in the design to anticipate inevitable future change.
From 1951 until 1967, Eb Zeidler and his partner, Jim Craig had designed many hospital projects throughout southern Ontario. In 1967 the firm was awarded the job of designing the new hospital and schools of medicine and nursing within the new McMaster University Health Sciences Centre in Hamilton. When this building opened, its design ignited healthcare architecture in Canada and it attracted visits by architects and healthcare workers from around the world. The building was revolutionary in several ways to match the radically new curriculum of the founding doctors-it was only 4-levels high, the entire building uses a long-span, interstitial space composed of steel trusses to provide for easy, economical change and the internal environment was shockingly colourful and playful in contrast to the typical hospital’s drab appearance. Other healthcare projects that benefited from the pioneering concepts that began at McMaster include three New Brunswick hospitals including the Saint John Regional Hospital, the Detroit Receiving Hospital and the Walter C. Mackenzie HSC. This hospital introduced the atrium to healthcare projects in Canada and was refined in subsequent Zeidler projects such as the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore, the Princess Margaret Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children and Sunnybrook’s Clinical Services Wing, all in Toronto. The use of the atrium in these buildings is partially a response to the harsh Canadian climate but also to the need to bring sunlight and greenery into the hospital’s interior, healing environment.