Removing the fear and anxiety typically experienced during doctor visits and medical exams is a major consideration in designing children’s hospitals. So to create a stress-free healing environment for Randall Children’s Hospital, ZGF looked to comfort, familiarity, and positive association. Situated on the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center campus in Portland, Oregon, the 334,000-square-foot, nine-story building incorporates visuals and colors that children respond positively to, without becoming an overblown playground setting. Soft, flowing curves—in everything from counters and undulating wood ceilings to furniture—evoke the games and objects with which children are familiar. Four regionally inspired color palettes define spaces depending on function: A tranquil coastal palette infuses calm in the neonatal intensive care unit and an active desert palette weaves through the emergency department, for example.
Drawing on research that concludes children have a strong affinity for imagery found in nature, the designers figured fauna and flora, as well as wildlife, prominently in the project—but in a restrained fashion. There are tasteful animal silhouettes at toddler eye level in walls and nurses’ stations, fractal patterns in a seating booth, and leaves depicted in a mosaic mural. One juror commented, “[The project] avoids being over-the-top and kitschy.” Most importantly, the design team maximized natural light and selected non-institutional materials such as Zebrano wood and bamboo, resulting in a bright and cheery environment that invites children in.
acute care honorable mention
Designer ZGF Architects LLP
Client Legacy Health
Where Portland, Oregon