A transformative environment for hope and healing

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA

The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) of UPMC sits at the intersection of research-based design and best-in-class pediatric care. When CHP found its existing facility overcrowded and outdated, they partnered with CannonDesign to design a state-of-the-art healing environment for children and their families.

Rooting Process in Experiential Research

  • Through a highly immersive design research process, the design team worked to ensure that the facility would meet the needs of hospital staff, parents, and — most importantly — the children receiving care.
  • One-on-one interviews, ethnography exercises, sensory and color analyses, and brainstorming sessions provided guiding principles for how the facility should look and feel. As a result of this research, every design decision was made with attention to how end users would experience the space.

Using Metaphor to Drive Design

  • Through the research process, Transformation, Control, Connection, and Energy emerged as key metaphors for the way users should interact with the hospital, which ultimately translated into design elements.
  • For example, the walls of the transformation corridor — which connects the parking garage and hospital — use lighting, texture, flooring, and pattern changes to illustrate the visual effect of a cocoon turning into a butterfly.
  • The fundamental notion that the right environment helps patients and families transform from an unbalanced to a balanced state lies at the heart of the design.

Creating Space for Family-Centered Care

  • Above all else, CHP is a place where children feel comfortable while receiving treatment and staff are happy providing care, as indicated by increased satisfaction scores a year after opening.
  • Pioneering the family-centered care model, the design provides patients and their families with the privacy and amenities of home. An invigorating color palette and kid-friendly textures and materials inspire a playful feeling throughout the hospital.
  • Lounges, improved overnight accommodations, a kitchenette, laundry facilities, and a school and business center help to maintain order during what can be a chaotic time for many families.
  • Patient rooms have increased intimacy and control, with the ability to display personal items and adjust lighting and bed height.
  • A whimsical outdoor healing garden provides a rejuvenating space for staff, patients, and families alike.

As a partner, through groundbreaking research, innovative design, and dedication, CannonDesign exceeded our expectations in designing a world-class facility that has enhanced the healing environment and will positively impact patient outcomes for generations to come.

– Roger A. Oxendale, Former CEO, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Performance Metrics

Staff and patient satisfaction scores increased by at least ten points across seven different measures one year after opening.