Type of facility: Neonatal intensive-care unit
Client: UC Davis Health System
Project architect: Chong Partners Architecture, Sacramento, Calif.
Construction manager: Jacobs Engineering Corp., Pasadena, Calif.
Completed: August 2005
Size: 25,000 square feet
Cost: $8.4 million
Cost per square foot: $336
Awards competition judge Douglas Hawthorne imagined the "rich, robust conversation that took place between the client and the architect" as they shared ideas for the project, and "as a result of that the project had a good outcome. It's good for the patient and also gives the architects a chance to show their talent."
The patients -- newborns requiring intensive services -- are housed in rooms that contain three to six bassinets. Before the renovation, all of the unit's beds were arranged in a single, large ward. The current setup allows for more of the advantages of a single room, while permitting staff the ability to monitor more than one infant at a time and reducing barriers to providing care in the event of a staffing shortage.
In addition to acknowledging the needs of the infants and staff, judges were impressed with the provisions afforded to parents and family members, including lockers, rocking chairs, and access to a sleep room and family waiting space. Other family-friendly design features noted by judges are the warm colors and room-identifying imagery; etched into the doors of each room are newborn and grown versions of an animal-personalizing each pod and serving as a guide to visitors of the 50-bed NICU.
"The high point is that it's so balanced as a family-centered design-one that nurtures premature babies and families," says judge Priya Malhotra.