St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital asked that the design for three ICU inpatient floors in their new Kay Research and Care Center be “magical and whimsical”. That the experience on each floor, from the moment of arrival, “engage the child”, “tell a story”, “be fun”, and “appeal to all ages”. The nature of care provided for patients at St. Jude requires that children and their families be admitted for months at a time, so the design must provide respite from the stress of their situation, whether through imaginative play or immersive distraction.
Designed by Evans Taylor Foster Childress Architects and Stanley Beaman & Sears, each floor is themed differently: Nature’s Orchestra; Discover The Sea; and Explore Space. Each theme informs the color palette; custom interactive games, custom graphic design, artwork selection, furniture selection and interior design for each floor. To introduce each theme on each floor, there is a fifty foot long interactive Journey Wall that guides the children from the elevators to the unit entry.
Within each unit are seventeen Family Suites, each includes a spacious Patient Room and an adjoining Parent Room that allows families to feel as much at home as possible. To encourage the children to get out of their rooms and socialize with others, there are interactive Discovery Walls and Shadow Boxes in the Patient Corridor, as well as a Play Room, and Teen Room. Central to all three floors is an Imagine Room, which is a multi-purpose immersive space that can display themed biomes so families can escape to the woods, or to the beach, or to outer space. The room can also display custom gestural interactive games or create a stage for puppet shows.