The esteemed quality of care at Duke University Medical Center (ranked No. 6 in US News & World Report's 2001 hospital rankings), Durham, NC, is not the only thing the hospital's new Children's Health Center has to live up to. Known for its pointed arches, towers, and gargoyles, the campus' Gothic architecture is almost as synonymous with the university as the Blue Devil that serves as its mascot.
The Duke University Medical Center recognized the importance of expanding its pediatric program to include an outpatient facility, the new Children's Health Center. "Our challenge was … to create a design that was 1) compatible with existing architecture, and 2) was appropriate for the pediatric patient population and pediatric faculty," says Mohinder Datta, principal at San Francisco-based architecture firm KMD. The five-story, 125,000-square-foot building is an amalgam of architectural styles that combine to form a facility with whimsy, illusion, and sophistication. Project highlights include:
• The facility's Welcome Center, a 5-story atrium that acts as the single point of entry for the Health Center.
• Each floor consists of uniformly designed modules that provide flexibility.
• Alive with interactive features, the project team strove to create a space that involved the concept of discovery. Drinking fountains have been transformed into life-sized dolls. Railings are constructed of kaleidoscoping glass, while George's aquarium gives patients the opportunity to drive remote-controlled submarines during the check-in process.
- Jana J. Madsen, Senior Associate Editor