Phoenix Children’s Hospital

The new tower at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital successfully avoids the typical hospital typology in favor of…an aesthetic I’m going to call the 1990s cruise ship aesthetic! The architects explain their aim was to evoke a “blooming desert flower.” No matter the associations, it’s a magical, spirited, and unique space designed by the firm HKS, a Dallas based powerhouse for medical architecture. Each floor has an animal that ‘sponsors’ it and a unique color scheme – enhancing wayfinding and adding to the playful atmosphere. Just how do these floors stack up? The lower level =  labs, a pharmacy, information technology, and storage for equipment. First floor = imaging, patient registry, outpatient pharmacy, a kitchen/restaurant, a 24-hour café, and administrative offices. The second floor =  ambulatory clinics. The third floor =  support functions, family spaces, and a rooftop garden. The fourth floor = inpatient procedures. The fifth floor and above are patient rooms. The patient rooms are each arranged with two groups of 24 single occupancy rooms. The elevator lobbies that people encounter as they move between floors each feature exterior views, a bronze animal sculpture, and a digital photographic wallcovering of a plant or nature scene. Like this:

A wonderful virtual tour is available on the Hospital’s website here. The project was featured on the March 2011 cover of Healthcare Design Magazine. In the accompanying article,  Sandra Miller, the HKS Interior Designer overseeing the interiors explains:

One of our directives was to avoid looking childish, which is one of the major challenges in a pediatric facility. The children treated here range in age from newborns to 20 years old, so it doesn’t make sense to only target the 5-to-8 year olds.  We established the look of the tower through color and artwork, and incorporating interactive positive distractions within the building

Art plays an important role in the concept. There are magnetic marker boards and each patient has an area on the wall outside of their room to display his or her own artwork, allowing them to personalize their own space. Miller explains that “the goal was to make each patient room like their own individual ‘front door’ into their world.” The hospital’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders also runs a website that allows shoppers to purchase original artwork or note cards featuring art by patients, with all funds going towards the hospital. You can see the spaces for patient artwork in the background here:

The dramatic lighting scheme throughout the building was overseen by lighting designer Scott Older with Philips Color Kinetics. The lighting is truly transformative in the above images, all taken after dark and perhaps ran through a photoshop filter or two. During the day the hospital looks a bit more…like a hospital, as you can see in this video from Phoenix news chanel abc 15:

(All Images HOK via modxdesign)





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