Nemours Children’s Hospital is a 630,000-square-feet, 137-bed health centre in Orlando, Florida, that provides paediatric treatment to infants, children, teens, and young adults. Stanley Beaman & Sears, Architect of Record, developed the architectural concept in collaboration with Perkins+WIll, who designed the hospital’s interiors.

Case study: Nemours Children’s Hospital by Stanley Beaman & Sears + Perkins and Will - Sheet1
Nemours Children’s Hospital_©aeroseal.com

Design

Planning

Upon initial public disapproval to open a new children’s hospital in Orlando, considering the existence of two in the region, Nemours’ recognized brand was approved by state officials and began construction in 2009, completed in 2012. Nemours prioritizes their young patients’ best interests, which inspired the design team to look for a clever solution. Their numerous stakeholders, including an advisory committee of parents and children, administrators, and practitioners, had worked together during the project’s concept development.

To answer the costly healthcare problem of a growing number of patients with chronic illnesses in children’s hospitals and clinics, several nurses collaborated with the architects during the design process. Consequently, a fresh concept that involves a new division known as “Kids Track” was developed, designed as a hybrid of a clinic and a “teen lounge.” This department would only focus on children with chronic illnesses to better manage these conditions. 

The clinical goal had been to instigate a model-Of-care where the patients’ caregivers stay the same from inpatient care to clinic visits. This is achieved by combining inpatient and outpatient care in one location.

The hospital has a pediatric clinic, an emergency department, diagnostic and ambulatory facilities, and education and research institutions. The master plan envisions installing more inpatient and outpatient rooms, medical offices, support facilities, and research labs. 

Design Philosophy

Case study: Nemours Children’s Hospital by Stanley Beaman & Sears + Perkins and Will - Sheet2
Nemours Children’s Hospital_©Jonathan Hillyer

The design philosophy stems from Nemours’ ideology to support children from their earliest years to adulthood by prioritizing the natural landscape. The campus is therefore designed with a “Hospital-in-a-Garden” approach, intended to inspire, comfort, and delight its young patients. 

Design Solutions

The hospital’s design strategies stem from its family-centred approach and 24-hour visiting policy; patient rooms have overnight accommodations for parents and concierge desks on each floor aid in navigating the hospital.

The building is composed of a hospital wing and a day clinic wing. Children and their families can become accustomed to the same care team during clinic visits and inpatient stays with the help of the building’s shape and configuration; the location of outpatient clinics and inpatient rooms is dedicated to a specific medical speciality in neighbouring wings of the same floor. 

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Site Plan_©archdaily.com

Extreme sun and humidity in Orlando‘s subtropical climate were crucial considerations during the construction process. Solar studies determined the design and location of exterior shading devices that obscure direct sunlight, and large windows bathe the interior in natural daylight. The structure blends its interior and exterior environments to encourage holistic treatment through a high degree of site integration. The interior is influenced by a lush garden scenery, incorporating organic shapes, outdoor views, and vibrant colours that arouse the senses. The “porch light,” an illuminated reception desk that generates a warm, inviting atmosphere, welcomes the guests. The folding ceiling patterns and creative cutouts generate filtered light that simulates light from a tree canopy along the patterned terrazzo garden walk on the lobby floor. An enormous flower-like feature is suspended from the ceiling in the café dining room, enhancing the link to nature.

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Interiors_©Jonathan Hillyer

This interior setting is carried throughout the patient corridors, staff lounges, and patient rooms in addition to the public lobby areas. The family waiting rooms are filled with amusing features, such as the benches that resemble hedges and encircle “picnic blankets on the grass.” Together with the patient rooms, they have large windows allowing therapeutic landscape views and plenty of natural light. Traditionally a dark space in the basement, the surgery corridor in this case, also has floor-to-ceiling windows with garden views. There are numerous outdoor leisure and play areas visible and accessible from lounges and playrooms, such as green rooftop terraces, interactive water elements, a discovery garden, and a stage for live performances. 

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Interactive Water Elements_©marinaquatic.com

The lighting design created by CD+M produces a dynamic aesthetic by incorporating interactive lighting systems, allowing young patients to customize their rooms by selecting the colour of the LED lights. That translates into a unique multi-coloured façade.

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A Multi-colored Facade_©Jonathan Hillyer

The beige stone wall serves as a wayfinding aid, directing traffic to and from the main entrances. Service functions are housed in the basement. 

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Beige Stone Wall_©Jonathan Hillyer

Construction

Case study: Nemours Children’s Hospital by Stanley Beaman & Sears + Perkins and Will - Sheet8
A Waiting Room_©Jonathan Hillyer

The building incorporates “smart” technology into its design, with a “command centre” keeping track of various clinical and facility-related parameters. As for materials selection, terracotta, precast, metal panels, curtainwall systems, and patterned glass form the structure’s exterior cladding, while the interiors have a clean, contemporary design thanks to a blend of specialist finishes, high-performance materials, and furniture in vibrant colours.

Sustainability

Nemours Children’s Hospital is one of just three children’s hospitals in the US to receive LEED Gold certification. The design team was challenged to create a sustainable facility that embodies the latest technologies for patient-centred equipment and overall building performance. They built a curving ramp that lifts the entry road one level, which allows the daylight basement to handle the facility’s service functions as a convenient solution to the high water table on the 60-acre greenfield site. The ramp continues through the structure’s interior out its back, gently returning to grade. Rainwater runs off the roofs into retention ponds and bioswales. 

Outdoor Garden_©Jonathan Hillyer

The hospital complies with Florida‘s strict lighting codes and is designed to be 20% under regulatory limits. The lighting design is sustainable, energy-efficient, and maintenance-conscious. Only eight lamp types are used for 95% of all fixtures.

Reference List:

[1] ArchDaily (2013). Nemours Children’s Hospital / Stanley Beaman & Sears + Perkins and Will. [online]. (Last updated: October 2013). Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/439396/nemours-children-s-hospital-stanley-beaman-and-sears  [Accessed: 14 November 2022].

[2] Architect Magazine (2015). Nemours Children’s Hospital. [online]. (Last updated: February 2015). Available at: https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/nemours-childrens-hospital-6648   [Accessed: 14 November 2022].

[3] Wikipedia (/). Nemours Children’s Hospital. [online]. (Last updated: October 2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemours_Children%27s_Hospital  [Accessed: 14 November 2022].

[4] Healthcare Design Magazine (2013). Nemours Children’s Hospital: Project Breakdown. [online]. (Last updated: March 2013). Available at: 

https://healthcaredesignmagazine.com/architecture/nemours-childrens-hospital-project-breakdown/

 [Accessed 14 November 2022]. 

[5] AIA Georgia (/). Nemours Children’s Hospital. [online]. (Last updated: /). Available at: https://aiaga.org/design-award/nemours-childrens-hospital/  [Accessed: 14 November 2022].

[6] CD+M Lighting Design Group (/). Nemours Children’s Hospital. [online]. (Last updated: /). Available at: https://cdmlight.com/index.php/portfolio-item/nemours-childrens-hospital/ [Accessed: 14 November 2022].

Author

A graduated BSc. in Architecture and soon-to-be master’s student, aspiring to specialize in sustainable and energy-efficient built environment. Having lived in both the Middle East and Europe has ignited travel as a passion, which she considers a valuable learning experience in the architectural profession, contributing to a spark to explore further through writing at RTF.

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