East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Expansion Opens

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. and BOSTON, Mass. – East Tennessee Children’s Hospital expansion has recently opened. Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, the new $75-million, 271,121-square-foot tower houses a 14-room surgery platform, multi-specialty outpatient clinics and a 44-room all-private neonatal intensive care unit tomeet the growing demand for pediatric health services in the region.

Symbolizing the hospital’s continued commitment to exceptional family and patient-centered care, the roof garden with a view of the Smokey Mountains and the multi-level glass bridge featuring both family and public spaces become the central design features of the new expansion. The metal panel exterior frames the bridges and the roof garden, creating an urban signature for the new expansion, while the use of terracotta on the façade blends the addition with the existing brickwork of the older hospital buildings. The bridge spans the entryway below joining new and old, while the public spaces and roof garden animate the campus. The five-story tower, which seems to change color depending on vantage point, emphasizes the significance of natural light in this project. The entire expansion sits atop a 165-space, two-story parking garage.

One of the most successful aspects of the Children’s Hospital expansion is the 44-bed NICU located on the top floor of the building. Featuring all private rooms, amenities in the new space include a family suite with kitchen facilities, resource center and a walk-out roof garden that became a defining space for the NICU and provides a much-appreciated outdoor respite area for families and staff. The large private rooms allow for unlimited bonding time with parents and other family members, especially siblings who had previously been prohibited from visiting due to space limitations and potential health concerns.

The challenge of ensuring that every private NICU room had direct exterior/daylight access turned into a tremendous opportunity for the design team, which led to the incorporation of light courts into the design and planning of the unit. The design team developed a NICU neighborhood concept to create intimate healing spaces for families and to provide clinical teams with the necessary support services to deliver efficient and effective care. The light courts provide daylight to every interior room and define the neighborhood organizational model for the unit, making the space feel more personal and private and contributing to intuitive wayfinding. As an added benefit, the light courts also feature 3-D artwork by local artists that are integrated into the hospital’s family healing art program. Cross-functional teams worked closely with the design team to engage all NICU stakeholders in the development of this model.

Although pediatric healthcare delivery is distinct from adult care and the needs of pediatric patients are different from those of adults, pediatric healthcare environments are incubators for hospital design innovation.

The architect of record for the project was BarberMcMurry architects. Shepley Bulfinch served as design architect and Johnson & Galyon Construction was the general contractor.

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Posted May 15, 2017

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