Designers and doctors know instinctively what science now confirms: design that connects people to light, air, and green space reduces stress and facilitates the healing process. Putting research into action, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s tapped New York’s Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects to design the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care at the hospital’s main campus in West Philadelphia. Houston-based FKP Architects is the architect of record.
The 700,000 square foot outpatient facility is comprised of a rectangular, 12 story main wing, and a connected six story wing of Jetsons-esque stacked floors whose bottoms are painted bright red, yellow, green, and blue.
A 14,000 square foot roof garden on the top gives patients access to fresh air and a space to play, while a 2.6 acre ground floor plaza is partially planted with medicinals for complementary therapeutic use.
In a statement, founding principal Cesar Pelli noted that “depicting the playfulness of children helps reinforce the idea of a positive medical experience.”
Inside, playful curvature guides eyes to the outside through banks of glass windows, while ramps and welcoming wayfinding signage guide patients and their families through the facilities. The Buerger Center features spaces unique to children’s hospitals, including a mock MRI machine that helps health care workers prepare children for the sometimes claustrophobia-inducing procedures. The facility will serve approximately 200,000 young people annually.
Specialties are grouped by level. Levels two through five opened this year, while levels six and seven will open in 2017.