Ronald McDonald House

Winnipeg, MB
3,712 m2 / 40,000 ft2
ft3 Role
New Build A/LA/ID Prime Consultant

The first Ronald McDonald House opened in 1974 in Philadelphia, Pa., allowing parents to stay close to their hospitalized child or children. Since then, Ronald McDonald House has implemented House programs around the world, including Winnipeg, Man.

In 2017, Ronald McDonald House Charities in Manitoba (RMHMB) retained ft3 to design and build a new facility in Winnipeg. The concept of a home away from home guided the form and function of the new house. 

To underscore that concept formally, we lowered rooflines and cut voids in the mass to mimic a series of townhouses, ensuring a new, large building in a mixed-use neighbourhood complemented the surrounding duplexes and single residences’ scale and form.

With forty individual bedrooms, including private washrooms, families can retreat to the privacy of their suites. Moreover, patients experiencing critical health issues can feel secure in the critical environment suites, which possess enhanced safety and infection controls, including a separate elevator and dedicated Energy Recovery Ventilators.

We took inspiration from children’s building playblocks when conceptualizing the window boxes framing each suite. The playblock theme also appears inside, applied as a wood ceiling treatment throughout the main floor living and dining areas, bringing cohesion to interior and exterior design elements. Furthermore, the building’s windows contextualize the home to the neighbouring community, strengthening each guest’s Sense of Place.
As a child’s imagination is integral to their healing, we designed for play in the new house. A two-story high play structure greets families upon arrival, anchoring the building to the site. We further infused imagination into the house through a sensory Magic Room that showers children with light, colour, and sound, taking them outside of their recovery into a space of innate joy and happiness.

For more about how the Ronald McDonald House organization is such an important support to families, please visit