Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House: Cancer Support Centre

Location Type Total GFA Description

Oakville, ON



The Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House is a non-clinical cancer-care and wellness support centre for cancer patients and their families in Oakville, Ontario.

  • Location Oakville, ON

  • Type Institutional

  • Total GFA N/A

  • Description The Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House is a non-clinical cancer-care and wellness support centre for cancer patients and their families in Oakville, Ontario.

Wellspring provides a variety of services to people living with cancer, including: group and individual counseling services, wellness and exercise programs, cooking and nutrition classes, drop-in daycare, relaxation lounges, and seminars. Focused on providing Wellspring with the healthiest possible environment, Q4A devoted a great deal of attention to green features, natural products, and long-term sustainability. The house is now complete and has exceeded everyone’s highest expectations. It is also a prime example of Q4A’s philosophy at work. It is a highly functional, clean and green space, which is warm and welcoming and will provide a sheltering oasis for individuals and families living with cancer for years to come.

Green technologies include: a biofilter living wall as well as daylighting and active solar systems.

An active living-wall/bio-filter was incorporated into the design, purifying and humidifying the air on a constant basis. The living wall has become an oasis within the Birmingham Gilgan House and contributes greatly to improved air quality and to promoting meditative healing.

Sun shading devices, skylights and sun tunnels were added to protect the building from the sun in the summer and draw heat and energy from it in the winter. A large array of solar panels produce an energy surplus, eventually generating revenue for the centre and paying for the solar panels in five to six years.

Other sustainable, quality-of-environment measures introduced, include:

  • Enhanced-insulation building envelope
  • WELL building standards to increase daylighting and eliminate off-gassing of immune compromising chemicals were employed

Frances Martin-DiGiuseppe designed an initial building for Wellspring in the late 1990’s. By 2010, Wellspring had a generous increase in users and found that the building was too small to serve the needs of the community. With substantial donations from the Birmingham and Gilgan families, the facility was expanded to roughly double the size. Q4 Architects Inc. (Quadra Design Studios at the time) were brought on as the architectural designers for the restoration and expansion.

The new design included an update of the entire facility – no room was left untouched. In addition to these renovations, several new spaces were added including:

  • A gym/yoga studio
  • A large, modern, collaborative teaching kitchen
  • A large main group room for events and large group meetings
  • Several additional offices, support rooms and meeting spaces
  • An elevator to improve the circulation of people throughout the building
  • Several programmatic spaces intended for specific activities (massage, art therapy, etc)
  • A large children’s daycare centre and outdoor playhouse