Health Research Innovation Facility (HRIF)

Edmonton, AB


Project Description

ONPA Architects as part of a Joint Venture

Size: 32,000 m2 (344,000 ft2)

Cost: $165 million

This project occurred on a very prominent site and was complicated by the context of the existing campus and the University of Alberta Hospital. The existing Heritage Medical Research Centre bisected and also linked the east and west halves of HRIF. Complex linkages and vertical circulation solutions had to be implemented to address this issue.

The facility’s design features an understated exterior with a remarkable atrium interior for circulation, gathering, studying, and other public campus life activities. Ample, yet controlled, natural light accentuates the large volume of the atrium while smaller forms create places for gathering, studying, and repose.


Elements like the fibre-optic service and shared resource and meeting rooms support the labs while bright and spacious offices provide the infrastructure for research and administration. ONPA applied complex programming that enabled simplicity in operations and maintenance, as well as the inclusion of new requirements for universal design and building code innovations. ONPA’s project phasing also allowed lab work to continue while new construction occurred in adjacent spaces.