A Children’s Hospital in a Park

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Replacement Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Recognized as a trailblazer in pediatric healthcare, Nationwide Children’s Hospital partnered with us to create a comprehensive master plan to revitalize its campus and accommodate future growth.  The centerpiece of the plan is a 12 story replacement hospital that transformed this once congested inner-city campus into a parklike setting designed to benefit the entire hospital community. The hospital and master plan played a key role moving Nationwide from being unranked to now being one of the top 10 children’s hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Upon entering the hospital, visitors walk into a two-story atrium celebrating the natural world, with abundant daylight, views of exterior gardens and a forest-themed interactive play area. A brightly colored motif of butterflies, wildflowers, falling leaves and other natural elements integrates the building’s indoor and outdoor spaces. This motif, which was created in partnership with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, has become a visual branding element extended throughout the campus. Larger-than-life wooden animals, specially crafted in Ohio, complement the nature theme and can be found throughout all levels of the hospital.

Improving the hospital experience for families was a primary driver of the design. At approximately 300 square feet, the patient rooms are double the size they were in the previous facility, providing ample space for family members to stay with patients. Magnetic paint on the walls around the sleeper sofa provides an easy way to display greeting cards and similar items, and a color-changing LED light panel above each patient bed allows patients to customize their room with their favorite color. At night, each the colors can be seen outside, contributing to the overall architectural appeal of the building.

The new front lawn adds six acres of green space to the campus, including a fragrance maze, storyteller’s nook, chalk wall, walking paths and serene gardens. The lawn carries the hospital’s commitment to healthcare outside — creating a new destination for patients, families and neighbors to enjoy.