Elevated experience, improved convenience for pediatric care
The experience of taking children to a doctor’s appointment can often be stressful and frustrating for parents when clinics are located in disparate, inconvenient locations. To better serve local children and their parents, St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) identified a community need for more convenient, accessible outpatient pediatric services. They also wanted to continue the brand of an integrated experience from their main campus. As a result, SLCH, BJC HealthCare and Washington University Physicians brought a full spectrum of pediatric ambulatory care services under one roof in the St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center, which serves children ranging in age from infant through teenager.
To fully understand the healthcare experiences of children, we worked with SLCH to conduct broad research focused on how children interact with and perceive healthcare spaces, and how the design of the new Specialty Care Center could be leveraged in therapeutic ways. As a result, the design is based on a theme of imagination and discovery, focusing on opportunities to play, socialize, fantasize and explore.
Upon arrival, playful punches of color and the hospital’s signature blue band establish the BJC/SLCH brand in the suburban St. Louis community. Inside, the main circulation spine yields a continuous view of the landscape from public corridors and waiting rooms while also providing daylight and wayfinding cues. Each child is given a special “passport” where they can receive destination stamps as they “travel” to different departments with their own distinctive entry portal, color and landmark theme, such as balloons or trains. This transforms a potentially frightening experience into one with elements of surprise and delight. Cognizant of the operational efficiency required as children and their families move between clinics, we carefully organized the overall floorplate to streamline travel distances and separate traffic flows while providing flexibility between different suites as volumes change over time.