Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital
Designed with kids in mind
Based on the concept of a pop-up book, this play area depicts a quaint country village and focuses on activities rather than the more traditional forms of play like running, jumping and climbing. Children being treated at the facility need fresh air and lots space to move around in, as well as bright colors and fun shapes to interact with. Their parents need to be able to see them at all times. In addition to these human factors, building an environment of this kind in a working hospital meant that extra care had to be taken in regard to dust, noise and the materials used in construction.
With these special challenges in mind, we fabricated many of the freestanding elements of the village out of perforated steel that is easy to see through and arranged a layout that allows for both wheelchair and IV mobility. Because access to the roof top is extremely limited, we designed the elements as separate components that could be assembled on site. This also allowed for the really messy work to be done back at the shop.
Our friends at Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital chose us for this project partly because of our prior experience working in health care environments. In addition to shepherding them through the aesthetic, budgetary and functional aspects of the job, we went into our first meetings already knowing to include things like “disease control” into our engineering. More importantly, our ability to see things from the perspective of the people who are ultimately going to be using it, in this case, brave kids who need a break from the hard work of healing, is what’s most effective in helping to put their minds at ease.