Your firms role on the project: Artwork Consulting, Procurement, Production, and Installation
Project Mission and Vision
ARCH Design was brought on by the Architecture, Planning, Design & Construction team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, FL to provide a suite of local nature photography for the Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion (APCP). The project encompassed 200 acrylics, custom framed canvases and prints, over 250 shadow box frames for patient and staff art, as well as hanging systems for patient art for each of the 189 rooms. ARCH Design also collaborated with renowned Florida nature photographers to create design-forward yet family-friendly installations like the one pictured above.
At 213,000 square feet, the six-floor APCP brings together the latest technology with the space and privacy patients and their families require to heal. Unlike the existing campus, which is designed with very young children in mind, the new building’s contemporary hospitality-inspired design appeals to all ages of patients and families. Nature-inspired touches like curved lighting tracks that suggest waves or sunbeams on the ceilings of the main lounges also relate to the themes on each of the five patient floors (water, land, air, sun and space). The design demonstrates the new patient-centered care model at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, which features living space and on-site amenities for families, so they can focus on helping their children get well. To determine how the art could best reinforce this new direction in the hospital’s mission and brand, ARCH Design consulted with high-level stakeholders and held focus groups with patients and their families.
Research in Evidence-Based Design (EBD) and the patient population determined the initial direction for local nature-based art. Critically ill children from throughout Florida and the Caribbean receive specialized care over what are often long periods at the APCP, and because they are bedridden, they do not get to go outside and experience all Miami has to offer. Further, family members are often hesitant to leave the patient’s side. To that end, it was important that the art bring the outside in and create a strong sense of place, so children and their families could still get to know Miami’s beaches, gardens and the nearby Everglades.
Initially, ARCH Design provided a mix of nature photography and playful stylized prints. Adult stakeholders preferred the latter because they seemed to appeal more to children’s taste. To give the patients a voice, ARCH Design and Child Life conducted two focus groups. Patients and their caregivers ranked 20 prints and nature photographs and shared their thoughts and preferences. With results that strongly corroborated with Nanda, Hathorn, Chanaud, & Brown’s 2007 EBD research study at Memorial Hospital in Houston, TX, all but the youngest of children strongly preferred beautifully lit, expansive landscape photographs. In addition, they expressed great enthusiasm for gently humorous animal imagery, such as the above photo of the smiling manatees.
The crisp, bright nature photography that the children favored complements the APCP’s contemporary architecture and interior design when presented in an understated silver frame or printed on sleek acrylic. Within this design framework, a mix of inviting landscapes and non-threatening animal imagery provide variety. Finally, on each floor, two large gallery walls feature patient art that likewise ties into to these themes (seen at the far left of the above photograph), honoring them by placing their work on par with prominent local photographers.
As a whole, the artwork and patient art frames provided by ARCH Design make the APCP more welcoming for both young patients as well as their families, ultimately reinforcing Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s shift to a patient-centered model. In the end, no one missed the fanciful prints, and feedback from staff indicates that the uplifting, hopeful and at times humorous imagery spoke to their mission and purpose.
Research Used and Lessons Learned
ARCH Design analyzed EBD literature, such as Kathy Hathorn and Upali Nanda’s 2008 “A Guide to Evidence-based Art,” and consulted with high-level stakeholders and conducted focus groups with patients and their families to finalize the design direction. Staff expressed a great appreciation for the uplifting, hopeful imagery, which they felt spoke to the mission of a children’s hospital. To that end, ARCH succeeded in helping Nicklaus Children’s Hospital rebrand through the artwork.
Links to published articles