At the most basic level, Children's Pavilion on Virginia Commonwealth University's medical campus has accomplished a key goal: bringing patient care under one roof. Until 2016, parents had to shuttle their children between multiple buildings, including one that was 3 miles down the road.
With the expansion of the pediatric ambulatory-care center, parents and children alike can get the care and support they need in a state-of-the-art facility, designed by HKS.
“Having nearly all pediatric outpatient services under one roof makes such an impact on our patients and their families,” said Suzanne Britt, director of the Children's Pavilion. “Kids can spend more time being kids and parents can have the convenience of multiple appointments in one building and miss fewer days of work.”
The building's contemporary design includes beautiful glass enclosures. “There's a pleasant quirkiness to it,” said design award judge Jennifer Schlimgen, vice president at design firm Kahler Slater, noting that the building isn't completely rectangular and the exterior is integrated with the surrounding environment.
The design allows for natural light to flood into the building, and patients and their families have various places to get even more sunlight and fresh air. A sky lobby leads out to a rooftop terrace and garden, bringing together themes of sky, water and forest. It also offers views of the James River.
A three-story atrium at the pavilion's southeast corner, a dramatic connecting staircase and suspended prismatic light sculpture unify the space as well.
Despite the space's sophistication, Britt said that the facility was built for kids and designed for adults. The pavilion also features interactive walls and floors featuring outdoor scenes that let children “play” with animals and view nature, giving kids a distraction from the hospital.
The building also includes energy-saving systems such as LED light fixtures, occupancy sensors and dual switching to minimize energy consumption; daylight sensors to reduce artificial lighting; and high-efficiency mechanical systems to reduce energy use, among other strategies for reducing its carbon footprint.