One of America’s most advanced healthcare centres dedicated to infants, children, and expectant mothers. Founded in 1991 to achieve human-centred healing, the Old Hospital building evolved into an academic medical centre, part of Stanford University. Due to the larger patient population, the old Stanford Hospital outgrew its existing building by 2006 and needed a salient expansion. 

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Lucile Packard Hospital_©Perkins&Will

Nurturing body and Soul

Optimal healing environments have demanding design needs to provide patients with a sense of “Home and healing”. Setting new standards in healthcare design, the Architects, Perkins+Wills, and HGA adopted a patient-centred, evidence-based design approach. To understand the user perspectives, the planning process was driven by the data collected from various brainstorming sessions, simulations, and tours by a team of architects, hospital staff, board members, and patient families. 

“Creating an environment inclusive of parents and children was a key design goal,” said Dan Rectenwald, healthcare principal and chief operating officer at HGA. 

The committee communally agreed upon a holistic space that was home and healing. The architects took a year to plan and transform the campus design. FCPH’s new building was positioned close to the original West hospital building on a constricted site. The new building, designed to operate as the main building in the future, was Z in shape with two staggered towers. This layout created space for three gardens – a public green corner setting, a staff garden next to the building, and a private green setting between the two buildings, ensuring that every room was open to views of nature. 

On the Inside 

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Entrance Lobby_©HGA

The eight-storeyed building features three levels of basement parking, with a discharge lounge for patient picks up aiming to reduce patient crowds at the main lobby. The ground floor includes the main entrance, and a surgery department, with room for expansion of the surgery department while also ensuring that hospital clinical areas weren’t moved to the basement. The main lobby,  featuring a 20ft high glass wall, looks out to a garden, elevator, and staircase on each side. On the first floor, the public zones-the cafeteria and gift stores are placed between the Main and West buildings.

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Colour coded Floor_©Perkins&Will

Levels 2 to 5 private house rooms with family accommodation for inpatients. Staff and patient circulation routes are segregated and demarcated to control pedestrian traffic in the hallways.

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Outdoor terrace_©Perkins&Will

With an emphasis on holistic healing, all patient rooms are open to outdoor patios that overlook the healing gardens. Every floor has laundry rooms and kitchens, considering the extended stay of patients and their families. 

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Single-patient Bedroom_©Perkins&Will

Patient rooms catered to the needs of children and caretakers, with medication alcoves placed directly outside the rooms for easier retrieval of medicines. Amenities like water dispensers and wash sinks were built at lower heights for children’s use. Every room had space to accommodate two other family members. The use of heavy medical equipment in the room was minimised to make children’s rooms less intimidating. Nursing units were designed to provide a direct line of sight into the patients’ rooms from nurse stations. Pharmacies were located at the same place on every floor for ease of moving meditations.


The Old Stanford Hospital accommodates design features such as a rooftop deck, 26 outdoor terraces, a central courtyard, and child-friendly art zones creating a soulful and holistic healing journey. The patients highly value these features. 

Inspired by the legacy of this old building, the architects were keen to build a healthcare facility, flexible to adapt to the needs of the 21st century, retaining the old hospital’s idea of “Access to Nature”. 

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Window planters_©Perkins&Will

Space constraints onsite restricted the development of terraced building forms and balconies, unlike the old campus design. The Architects reimagined this concept by providing a glimpse of those natural views through low window sills with outside planter boxes in the patient rooms. The planter boxes, planted with native plantings, brought the garden into the rooms by attracting birds and insects. Levels 2 to 5 had two outdoor balconies for patients and staff. Nature and medicine concurrently play a significant role in every patient’s healing journey. 


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Colour codes are used as a medium to define ways indoors. Inspired by the old building’s ocean approach, each floor was defined by a specific colour and theme representing California’s several ecoregions. Factual murals at each care unit’s entrance shared facts about nature, animals, and their habitats. Children could read, play, and pet these animals during their extended stays. The murals are positive distractions and educational for children who miss school.    


Having designed a campus to cater to the needs of the technologically transforming 21st-century medicine,  the next big thing to consider was ways to make it sustainably innovative. In response to the region’s drought conditions, the residents accepted features, including water and energy-saving systems. 

The design firm Mazetti + GBA presented LCPH with a displacement ventilation system that had the potential to save significant energy and improve indoor air quality. Only a few healthcare centres in North America had adopted this system, which called for peer-reviewed research.

As a plan of action for the water-saving goals of the organisation, a 110-gallon cistern system was installed at the hospital to recycle rainwater, water recovered from condensates in HVAC equipment, and the purified water from hemodialysis to water the landscapes at The Stanford premises. The systems installed used 38 per cent less water and 60 per cent less energy than any average hospital in Northern California. The building is on its way to earning LEED Gold Certification. 

Local materials

Outdoor Canopy_©Perkins&Will

More than twenty-five per cent of the materials used for construction were procured within 500 miles of Palo Alto. The wooden façade elements were wood reused from a 1930s Moffett Hangar, a landmark in Silicon Valley. 

Following the completion of LPCH expansion, the organisation is anticipating reforming the West building, which has been performing fine according to the patient experience and reviews. 


Perkins&Will, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

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Stanford Medicine Children’s Health 

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Available at:

Perkins&Will, (2017). Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford,  

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Perkins&Will. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital [Photograph](Palo Alto, California)

HGA. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital [Photograph](Palo Alto, California)


An architectural graduate with a vision to create artful and functional environments. She has a strong inclination towards exploring and interpreting the aesthetics of people, places, and buildings. With a writing niche, she believes in the power of words to emote.

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