The new 334,000 square-foot, nine-story Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel consolidates previously dispersed pediatric care and creates a graphic identity for its campus in Portland, Ore.
The overarching goal was to create a place full of inspiration, with a sense of unexpected discovery and thoughtful distractions, using art and environmental graphics to create destinations and enliven spaces. Based on proven research that children have a strong affinity for imagery found in the natural world, four regionally inspired color palettes for interior finishes are used throughout the hospital to represent the geographic diversity of the Oregon and Washington regions it serves. The palettes were applied based on the function of the space; for example, the neonatal intensive care unit reflects a tranquil coastal palette, while the emergency department uses an active desert palette.
Each hospital floor is assigned an indigenous animal found in its region that repeats throughout the floor in a variety of materials, such as eco-friendly architectural glass that animates the space and aids navigation. These whimsical pictograms also appear in surprising places, such as at eye level of a toddler standing at a nurse station.
The combination of regional color palettes and animal imagery creates a wayfinding system that integrates building signage with directional arrows and graphics. Corian was selected as a base material for the interior design, providing a pure white backdrop that could incorporate curving forms as well as be durable and hygienic. Art was one of the guiding principles for the hospital in developing a healing, animated environment. In addition to incorporating tactile, large-scale topography and iconography, the hospital is filled with artwork chosen by its community-based art committee. A dedicated art studio provides patients with supplies for individual and collaborative creative projects. At every turn, the designers incorporated colorful, whimsical design to create a warm, inviting atmosphere that promotes comfort and healing, for all to enjoy.