Pelli Clarke Pelli stack up in Philadelphia

Nick Myall
Friday 08 Jan 2016

West Philadelphia Children’s Hospital gets an uplifting, interactive new building

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architect’s design for the Buerger Center is a dynamic addition to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s main campus in West Philadelphia, USA. Composed of stacked, undulating forms and a palette of primary colours, the twelve-story building and six-storey wing offer young children and families an uplifting, interactive setting for treatment. Easy-to-navigate floors, colourful pods with “Wait, Play, Learn” displays for fun engagement, and a roof top garden for rehabilitation and play are features that help reduce the stress typically associated with hospitals. The three-acre landscaped plaza provides open space for safe recreation, family gatherings and small pockets for private reflection; medicinal gardens have been planted for therapeutic use. Below the plaza is a five-level underground parking garage.

The lobby is spacious and light-filled with a dramatic, curved ramp that invites children to zigzag their way up three levels and observe the activity below. The accessible ramp connects to a bridge linking to the North Campus across the street. The main wing is rectangular on one side to accommodate clinical “neighbourhoods of care” and curvilinear on the other side to create playful lobbies. The six-story wing accommodates a rehabilitation gym on the third floor and the roof-top garden on the top floor. An elliptical glass elevator orients patients and families directly to lively “welcome” centres on each clinical floor. 

The same bright colours that energise the exterior curtain wall are used to accentuate the interior corridors, waiting rooms, patient rooms, and garage levels. They are also navigational, identifying each floor of care. Large scale graphics of children in motion enliven the public spaces, serving as visual encouragement and positive reinforcement.

This is the first phase of the Buerger Center. Phase two will expand the centre to 16 levels. The building is adaptable for changes in health care delivery and can be converted for office, research, or inpatient uses.

Sustainable Buildings Award 2016 is open for entries.
For information on entering contact:
+44 (0) 1273 201 123


Nick Myall

News Editor

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