Seattle Children's cancer-, critical- and emergency-care expansion project serves as the foundation of the institution's 2030 master plan, and its architects say they wanted to set the standards for future development with Building Hope's flexible design, sophisticated lighting and colors, and efficient layout.
Patient floors are “free of monuments,” says Anita Rossen, an associate partner with ZGF Architects, meaning there are no unmovable vertical risers that house utilities and prevent repurposing of the space as needs change. Acute-care rooms are large enough to be swung into use as critical-care rooms.
Flexibility was incorporated everywhere in Building Hope's structure, and Rossen says “outside of patient safety, it was the No. 1 driver of the design.”
Efficiency was another, with a focus on nursing care. Cardboard mockups of floor designs were tested by staff, which led to workflow improvements and innovations such as space-saving double doors for the bathrooms that open from the corner. The project gave Seattle Children's a reason to revamp its wayfinding elements. This led to creating Building Hope's “forest” zone along with “mountain,” “river” and “ocean” zones with differentiating colors and images to help visitors make their way across the sloping campus.
Another factor that Rossen says makes Building Hope stand out from other projects she's worked on is the space allowed for families—including quiet places without electronics, work areas and rooms to celebrate birthdays or the end of treatments. “Life continues to happen while people are in the hospital,” she says.