You probably have the same image popping into your mind as I do at the word “hospital”. Big, drab building with endless, oppressive hallways that all look the same, right? Well, it seems that the architects of Dell Children’s Hospital have been primarily intent on challenging that stereotype.
The entrance is anything but drab. The soaring, sloping ceiling with plenty of light keeps it open and playful and provides visual interest . . .
and so does the courtyard with its four levels, so each of the four floors has an entrance to it.
All the longer stretches of wall have some kind of art or display that doubles as a recognizable landmark to help you find your way.
And several are interactive, which even my teenage kids love.
The art also serves as milestones: “Wow, you walked all the way to the falling balls today!” or “Let’s see if you can make it to the butterfly wall and back”.
For privacy reasons, I have avoided having people recognizably in the pictures, so these are my kids, but I sure wished I had my camera with me when three Hispanic tough dudes in their early twenties were playing at the butterfly wall. “I’m doing it blue. Oh damn, it turned orange!” I think that would have been worth cheating on my principle.
They even thought of the fact that the smallest kids look more at the floor than anything else, so the linoleum at the beginning of every hall has a different pattern . . .
. . . and the floor number is depicted in the linoleum at every elevator door.
There are little surprises everywhere.
And it all just looks really good.
In short, the building has been designed to provide as much distraction from kids’ pain and misery as possible. I was truly impressed.