flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

The latest pediatric design solutions for our tiniest patients

Healthcare Facilities

The latest pediatric design solutions for our tiniest patients

These unique projects share a common mission: Providing safe, excellent care for our most vulnerable patients and their families.

By Julia Jude and Kristie Alexander | CannonDesign | July 10, 2023
Two boys playing rock paper scissors in pediatric office
"It is remarkable to see these spaces come to life, authentically embracing the essence of childhood and honoring the resiliency, intelligence, and playfulness of children," says Kristie Alexander, National Pediatric Strategist. Photo courtesy CannonDesign

Guided by our Whole Child, Every Child philosophy, our pediatric design practice is redefining care for children across the country using evidence-based and trauma-informed design strategies to create environments that nurture children's complete wellbeing. These unique projects share a common mission: providing safe, excellent care for our most vulnerable patients and their families.

As the mental health crisis among children and teenagers continues to surge, many of our projects will deliver specialized inpatient and outpatient care through purpose-built mental health units and standalone facilities.

Here’s a more specific update the latest milestones and progress on a few of these ongoing projects:

Dayton Children’s Specialty Care Outpatient Center + Behavioral Health Building

Following up on the Dayton Children’s Hospital Patient Tower, our ongoing work and relationship with Dayton Children’s Hospital continues with two exciting projects: a newly opened specialty care center and a dedicated behavioral health building that just broke ground.

Dayton Children’s Specialty Care Outpatient Center + Behavioral Health Building
 Dayton Children’s Hospital. Photos courtesy CannonDesign

The 152,000-sf specialty care center on Dayton Children’s main campus responds to the increase in patient complexity by creating collaborative spaces to support multi-disciplinary care teams. By utilizing standardized clinic modules, the design fosters the sharing of exam rooms among pediatric specialties, allowing for flexibility and improved operational efficiencies as patient volumes fluctuate over time. Recognizing the increasing number of patients with mental health issues and medical complexities, the design prioritizes inclusivity and joy. The building provides a playful, light-filled backdrop for care while sensory items are featured in key areas such as exam rooms, diagnostic spaces, blood draw rooms and feature walls.

With a strong commitment to their community, Dayton Children’s is addressing the mental health crisis with a new behavioral health building. Set to open in spring 2025, the new freestanding facility will allow Dayton Children’s to double the number of behavioral health inpatient beds currently available at the hospital from 24 to 48 and bring behavioral health inpatient, outpatient, and crisis services all within the same building. At the groundbreaking, Dayton Children’s leadership noted more than 7,000 children were treated for a mental health crisis last year.

CHOC Southwest Tower 

The new tower from Children’s Hospital of Orange County recently celebrated its topping out. This new addition to the CHOC campus is a nine-story, 330,000-sf outpatient facility that will house five floors of Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI 3) facilities, and four floors of clinics, and research areas.

CHOC Southwest Tower
CHOC Southwest Tower. Rendering courtesy CannonDesign

When completed in 2025, this building will house a comprehensive outpatient imaging center, a dedicated Research Institute floor, oncology infusion services, multiple specialty clinics, and a host of patient and family amenities.

Designed to match CHOC’s Bill Holmes Tower, the Southwest Tower boasts bright colors and a kid-friendly feel. It will include a variety of futuristic technical characteristics, with advanced features that enable better telemedicine opportunities, interactive screens for patients and staff, digital check-in kiosks and wayfinding interior graphics.

Connecticut Children’s 

We were honored this spring to join Connecticut Children's team members, patient families and leaders for a superhero-themed groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the launch of the next phase of the health system’s growth and expansion plan, construction of a 190,000-sf clinical tower on the front lawn and connected to the existing medical center in Hartford. Completion is scheduled for late 2025.

Connecticut Children's
Connecticut Children's. Rendering courtesy CannonDesign

The clinical tower will include two floors with 50 private neonatal intensive care rooms, a fetal care center with six labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms, as well as two dedicated operating rooms, and an advanced gene therapy unit where bone marrow transplants and liquid radiation treatments can be performed. Each inpatient floor offers an open-air terrace for fresh air and respite and the building is sited to maximize the positive impacts of a ground level courtyard as people arrive and move through the building. It also features expanded kitchen facilities, high tech meeting and conference space to support Connecticut Children's commitment to education and an expanded pharmacy and gift shop.

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital 

As Oklahoma’s only comprehensive, freestanding children’s hospital, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital (OCH) OU Health (OUH) is the main facility caring for children with mental and behavioral health issues in the state. There are more than 40 pediatric patients a month using an inpatient bed in the hospital who would be better treated in an acute psychiatric facility.

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital
Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. Renderings courtesy CannonDesign

To meet this crisis, our health and pediatric practices converged to create an empathetic space for children that leaves the old institutional feel of behavioral health facilities in the past. OCH is building a comprehensive acute pediatric Behavioral Health Center with 72 inpatient beds connected to the existing Children’s Hospital set to open in 2026. The patient rooms are private with acuity-adaptable ensuite bathrooms. The design lets kids both be connected to others or create boundaries if needed, as well as balancing safety and calmness. The new center will also house intensive outpatient programming and partial hospitalization care, as well as a shared gymnasium and outdoor activity areas.

Designing through the lenses of neurodiversity was a key goal for the team. Some of the guiding principles included:

  • Design with our hearts to preserve the wonder of childhood for all ages.
  • Celebrate curiosity and learning by building rich environments that recognize a child’s intelligence.
  • Promote inclusivity and accessibility by creating integrated experiences for all ages, abilities and neurodiversity.
  • Help children understand their surroundings by creating spaces that are intuitive and relatable.

More from Author

CannonDesign | Jan 3, 2024

Designing better built environments for a neurodiverse world

For most of human history, design has mostly considered “typical users” who are fully able-bodied without clinical or emotional disabilities. The problem with this approach is that it offers a limited perspective on how space can positively or negatively influence someone based on their physical, mental, and sensory abilities.

CannonDesign | Oct 23, 2023

Former munitions plant reimagined as net-zero federal workplace

The General Services Administration (GSA) has embraced adaptive reuse with Building 48, an exciting workplace project that sets new precedents for how the federal government will approach sustainable design.

CannonDesign | Aug 22, 2023

How boldly uniting divergent disciplines boosts students’ career viability

CannonDesign's Charles Smith and Patricia Bou argue that spaces designed for interdisciplinary learning will help fuel a strong, resilient generation of students in an ever-changing economy.

CannonDesign | May 11, 2023

Let's build toward a circular economy

Eric Corey Freed, Director of Sustainability, CannonDesign, discusses the values of well-designed, regenerative buildings.

CannonDesign | Apr 10, 2023

4 ways designers can help chief heat officers reduce climate change risks

Eric Corey Freed, Director of Sustainability, CannonDesign, shares how established designers and recently-emerged chief heat officers (CHO) can collaborate on solutions for alleviating climate change risks.

CannonDesign | Mar 9, 2023

5 laboratory design choices that accelerate scientific discovery

Stephen Blair, director of CannonDesign's Science & Technology Practice, identifies five important design strategies to make the most out of our research laboratories.

CannonDesign | Feb 9, 2023

3 ways building design can elevate bold thinking and entrepreneurial cultures

Mehrdad Yazdani of CannonDesign shares how the visionary design of a University of Utah building can be applied to other building types.

CannonDesign | Jan 9, 2023

How modular solutions can help address skyrocketing construction costs

Modular builder Joshua Mensinger details three ways modular solutions aid in lowering construction costs.

CannonDesign | Dec 9, 2022

What's old is new: Why you should consider adaptive reuse

While new construction allows for incredible levels of customization, there’s no denying that new buildings can have adverse impacts on the climate, budgets, schedules and even the cultural and historic fabrics of communities.

CannonDesign | Jun 13, 2022

University of Kansas Health System cancer care floors foster community and empathy

On three floors of Cambridge Tower A at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, patients being treated for blood cancers have a dedicated space that not only keeps them safe during immune system comprising treatments, but also provide feelings of comfort and compassion.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021