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Photo credit: Riley Snelling


Forming a sinuous line between the Don Valley to the north and the low-rise urban fabric of the city to the south, this new home for the Sisters of St. Joseph articulates both individual contemplative life and the community engagement of the Sisters’ ministries, making relationships to nature and the city to reinforce public and private aspects. These dualities are articulated both in the exterior of the building and the spaces within. [1]


Shim-Sutcliffe Architects has received two awards in the recent 2015 Design & Health International Award program. 


The Residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Toronto was the winner in the Sustainable Urban and Built Environment category, awarded for a healthcare or health community project that demonstrates sustainability performance above the mandatory norms, satisfies legislative, technical, financial and moral imperatives, and shows understanding of the principles of salutogenic and ecological design. 

The Residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph also received a Highly Commended citation in the category of health projects under 40,000 square metres. This category recognizes outstanding healthcare buildings where human health considerations are as evident as clinical and managerial priorities. [2]


In addition to its impressive design, the building achieved a high degree of sustainability, with a high-performance envelope, green roofs, photovoltaic roof panels, solar water heating, and rainwater management, as well as geothermal heating and cooling systems. While it did not aim to meet LEED standards, the project did capture a 2014 Living City Award for its emphasis on green healthy living. 


Only time will tell how this building will age, but its striking design and incorporation of sustainable and heritage elements promises to render this project a timeless example of Toronto architecture deserving of praise. [3]


Living City Award, 2014
Design & Health International Award, Sustainable Urban and Built Environment, 2015
Design & Health International Award, Health Projects, 2015


[1]     “Residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.” Canadian Architect, April 30, 2014. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/residence-for-the-sisters-of-st-joseph-of-toronto/.

[2]      Canadian Architect. “Shim-Sutcliffe Wins Twice at Design & Health International Awards.” Canadian Architect, September 26, 2015. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/shim-sutcliffe-wins-twice-at-design-health-international-awards/.

[3]     “Revisiting Toronto’s Hidden Jewel of the Don Valley: The Sisters of St. Joseph Residence: UrbanToronto.” News. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://urbantoronto.ca/news/2016/05/revisiting-torontos-hidden-jewel-don-valley-sisters-st-joseph-residence.

Additional information:

“Nun’s Sense: Residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.” Canadian Architect, April 6, 2021. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/nuns-sense/.

“Residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.” Hidden Architecture, September 28, 2019. https://hiddenarchitecture.net/residence-for-the-sisters-of-st-joseph-of-toronto/.

“Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Receive a Living City Award for The Sisters of St. Joseph Residence.” Daniels, July 4, 2016. https://www.daniels.utoronto.ca/news/2014/11/18/shim-sutcliffe-architects-receive-living-city-award-sisters-st-joseph-residence.

“Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Win Best Hospital Upgrade Award for Sisters of St. Joseph Residence.” Daniels, July 4, 2016. https://www.daniels.utoronto.ca/news/2014/08/13/shim-sutcliffe-architects-win-best-hospital-upgrade-award-sisters-st-joseph.

“Shim-Sutcliffe,” March 4, 2021. https://www.shim-sutcliffe.com/.

“Sisters of St. Joseph: Taylor House.” ERA Architecture, n.d. https://www.eraarch.ca/project/sisters/.

Project Title: The Sisters of St. Joseph Residence
Artists:  2013
Year: Shim-Sutcliffe

Place: Toronto, Ontario

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