Providing a new outlook to the traditional conventions behind hospitals, Perth Children’s Hospital by Cox Architecture reimagines how a hospital should look and feel by perceiving it from the eyes of a child. In Nedlands, Perth, PHC is a specialist pediatric hospital with the latest technology and world-class healthcare facilities for children and youngsters up to 16. Opened in 2018, the hospital is an almost 300-bed facility with specialised areas such as a high-dependency unit, staff-only areas for research, and recreational areas. PHC not only replaced the century-old Princess Margaret Hospital but also marked a significant change in how a children’s hospital looks and feels. 

Perth Children's Hospital-Nedlands Perth by Cox Architecture - Sheet1
Multipurpose rooms _©Shannon McGrath

A Playful and Friendly Design 

One may imagine a hospital as a vast gloomy space full of signboards, long white corridors, and an awful smell. However, that’s where the Perth Children’s Hospital stands out. Designed from a child’s perspective, PHC uses colour and nature to relieve stress and anxiety, employing a playful design to create a family-friendly environment. The de-institutionalized Children’s Hospital by Cox Architecture is a medical wonderland for kids and their families. It aims to reduce the levels of anxiety and stress that come with hospital visits through the clever play of colour-blocked interiors and hidden visual treasures.

Perth Children's Hospital-Nedlands Perth by Cox Architecture - Sheet
Perth Children’s Hospital ©Shannon McGrath

A green concept 

Situated along Winthrop Avenue, the ‘Fizz’ sculpture by artist Stuart Green along the green-coloured facade of the building immediately catches the eye of the passerby. The sculpted forms, artworks, and play areas the parents and children see immediately reduce their anxiety upon arrival. The entrance is followed by the atrium space marked by the playful reception desk. Upon looking up, one sees the green and white bulging balconies laid out in an asymmetrical pattern around the central space creating a lively space for the visitors.

Even the layout of the hospital is designed in such a way that it optimises patient observation. The patients and their families can use open centres in the building, while the central area of each wing is more spacious so that the staff can work, observe and aid across units.

Furthermore, Cox Architecture has designed designated staff-only areas to give the workers the much-needed space to work in solace while at the same time encouraging conversation between educators, researchers, and clinicians to find solutions to problems. 

Interiors of PHC_©Shannon McGrath

Minimising the levels of stress and Anxiety 

Having a deep understanding of the stress and anxiety that parents feel while bringing their children to a hospital, Cox Architecture has focused on minimising these stressful emotions through the use of colours like orange, green, and yellow which mark the different areas of the hospital. Delightful visual treasure can be found in several nooks and corners, such as the seating pod areas where a child can not only sit but also climb and hide and the staff stations camouflaged as a treehouse. The hospital’s design approach aims to create a welcoming environment for the children and their families by converting a daunting hospital experience into a calming one. Moving away from the pre-existing conventions that revolve around medical institutions, PHC has created a unique design that emphasises human connection, emotions, and their link to nature. 

Perth Children's Hospital-Nedlands Perth by Cox Architecture - Sheet4
Lobby_©Shannon McGrath
Perth Children's Hospital-Nedlands Perth by Cox Architecture - Sheet5
Kitchen_©Shannon McGrath

Inspired by the King’s Park in Perth  

Inspired by the nearby flora and fauna of King’s Park Botanical Garden in Perth, the building of the children’s hospital is based on the concept of ferns and petals. The curvaceous sculptural forms found throughout the building are inspired by the graceful floral forms at the park, while the design flow reestablishes the connection with humanity. The green facade of the building takes cues from the grassy palette of the park, while the entire layout is based on a petalled stem. Sculptural objects are used to demarcate specific areas like the reception desk, staff areas, and waiting zones, followed by colour-blocked interiors, a visual distraction from hospital anxiety. The open views of King’s Park and swan lake from the room the children also aid in relaxing them from the anxiety of lying in a hospital bed. Even the bright-hued colour scheme of the hospital has been picked up from the colourful wildflowers that grow throughout Western Australia.  

Unique Materials

Western Australia is blessed with an abundance of natural light which is high in quality and intensity. Keeping in mind this unique aspect of the region, Cox Architecture has incorporated a double skin facade on the east and west axis of the building to maximise the light that enters the building while controlling its intensity. Covering most of the clinics, laboratories, and teaching spaces, this technique widens the views of King’s Park and improves air quality and thermal performance. The facade keeps changing patterns throughout the day as the motorised louvres open and close with the changing patterns of the sun. 

Nurtured by nature 

Taking direct cues from nature, the Perth Children’s Hospital nurtures nature and sustainability in not only its building interior but also the emotions that the hospital conveys. Maximising the amount of natural light that enters the interiors and views of the King’s Park from every room reestablish human connection with nature and increases people’s well-being. The green spaces inspired by King’s Park and other amenities, such as natural skylights, exercise areas, and rooftop gardens, create a welcoming and worry-free environment aiming at stress reduction. 

Perth Children's Hospital-Nedlands Perth by Cox Architecture - Sheet6
Front Facade of PHC_©Shannon McGrath

A truly Collaborative Project

Perth Children’s Hospital is a truly collaborative process between JCY Architects and Urban Designers, Cox Architecture, and Billard Leece Partnership to create a truly unique hospital that appeals to the consciousness of the parents and the children. It is a place where parents are welcome to stay with their children and make them feel at home so that a hospital experience no longer feels daunting for them. A hospital shall be a place where one goes to overcome any psychological or physical problem they have rather than a place which adds onto the sickness. PHC has done just that by creating a calming and welcoming environment in the hospital rather than one of distress. 

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Sketch Idea of Perths Children’s Hospital _©
Perth Children's Hospital-Nedlands Perth by Cox Architecture - Sheet8
Layout development_©


Perth Children’s Hospital (no date) COX. Available at: (Accessed: May 3, 2023). 

Architecture, C. (2018) Perth Children’s Hospital by Cox Architecture: Doctors’ surgeries, Architonic. Architonic. Available at: (Accessed: May 4, 2023). 

Ingram, T. (2021) Healthy Horizons: Perth Children’s Hospital: Indesignlive, Indesign Live: Interior Design and Architecture. Available at: (Accessed: May 4, 2023). 

Nature nurtures at Perth Children’s Hospital (2018) Billard Leece Partnership – Melbourne | Sydney. Available at: (Accessed: May 4, 2023). 

Cox, M. (2022) Perth’s Children Hospital Wins 4 awards at AIA 2019: Blog, Cox Urban Furniture. Available at: (Accessed: May 4, 2023). 


Anshika Mangla is an ebullient individual who loves to express her thoughts through words. She is an Interior Design student who is interested in exploring the maximalist side of design with a bent toward architectural photography. She believes writing is the most powerful expression of our ideas, an inspiration for those around us.