Robert Canfield
Robert Canfield

Plano, Texas

ZGF Architects/PageSoutherlandPage

Category: Category B: Built, More than $25 million (construction cost)

Project: Children's Medical Center at Legacy

Client: Children's Medical Center of Dallas

Project Location: Plano, Texas

Architects: ZGF Architects LLP/PageSoutherlandPage LLP

General Contractor: Austin Commercial

MEP engineer: PageSoutherlandPage, LLP

Structural engineer: Datum Engineers, Inc.

Civil engineer: Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

Medical equipment planner: Balfour Beatty Construction

Landscape architect: Newman, Jackson, Bieberstein

Photographers: Robert Canfield and Pete Eckert

Artist: Mel Ristau

Construction cost (not including equipment or soft costs): $92,000,000

Building area GSF: 328,000

Completion date: September 2008

As the first suburban children's hospital of its kind, the design of Children's Medical Center at Legacy was driven by four primary factors: (1) to be child-right, not childish; (2) to be non-institutional and non-threatening; (3) to let nature and its healing powers permeate the building; and (4) to be flexible enough for future expansion. A design advisory panel-consisting of patients, their families, hospital staff, and caregivers-helped guide design decisions, as did existing research. From every public space to every patient room and corridor, the design incorporates nature, daylight, and color, to positively affect the experiences of patients, families, and staff.

Sited on 84 acres in suburban Plano, Children's Medical Center at Legacy was conceived as both a complement to the main campus in Dallas, and as a community-based hospital to better serve suburban-based families. The facility features three above-ground floors plus a lower garden level, 72 single-patient rooms, and four operating rooms (plus shelled space for eight more), full-service diagnostics, an urgent/emergency care center, a lobby café, full-service cafeteria, chapel, gift shop, family resource center, and various patient and family lounges. The new building can be expanded by two additional floors, with long-term plans to add another five-story, two-wing bed tower.

Pete Eckert
Pete Eckert

Patient rooms are full of light and have a residential character to their furnishings, cabinetry, and material palette. In the spirit of family-centered care, each room has sleeping accommodations for two family members, along with adequate storage so families can comfortably stay with children. To reduce noise and improve infection control in a less intimidating environment, patient rooms host just one child along with built-in versus wheeled-in medical equipment. Bathrooms were placed inboard to maximize views and the day lighting within the rooms. An entry vestibule is the clinical care zone of the room. This makes the clinical area convenient for the caregiver, but out of the patient's sight line. The sink is positioned close to the door so that nurses will be reminded to keep their hands sanitized from patient to patient. The arrangement of the nursing units also embraces the outside environment, which is not only therapeutic for the children and their families, but also creates a positive work environment for the caregivers. Central nursing stations on each floor, along with decentralized work stations that sit along the corridor between two patient rooms, were planned to improve caregiver-to-patient contact with greater efficiency and fewer distractions.

Pete Eckert
Pete Eckert

This is the first children's hospital to put an ambulatory pediatric facility, instead of a clinic, on an outlying campus. The building was scaled appropriately to fit its site and to blend with the neighboring community. Intimately connecting the facility to the outdoors was the goal of providing unobstructed views of the surrounding grasslands. Water is present throughout the site-from a white rock creek just outside the cafeteria dining room to a peaceful lake on the north end of the site, which draws visitors through landscaped gardens.

Two types of family waiting rooms are located on each floor. One is located at the end of each acute bed unit. It has a kitchenette and offers an area near, but outside of, the patient's room for family respite. The other family area is located between the acute patient wings, and resembles a living room in one's home, with areas designated by different furnishings-a children's play area, a more adult lounge, a technology docking area, etc. All of the spaces are colorful and situated near windows, with panoramic views to the outdoors.

Children's Medical Center at Legacy is part of a new medical complex that also includes an adjacent ambulatory care facility within the initial development. The plan from the outset was to provide a suburban look and feel, to let the natural setting reach everyone inside, and to create a building that would enhance its site. An abundance of “green space” surrounds the building, providing an environment of healing and tranquility for patients and families. Outdoor healing spaces were a strong tenant of the initial design for both the healing power of nature and the positive distraction for both the patient and family.

Use of wood panels and natural limestone tie the building to the land, and reflect a strong Texas vernacular. The materials for the facility were sourced locally. Stone for the exterior was quarried in Texas and materials specified were sustainable. The HVAC systems that control the hospital environment are high-efficiency, Energy Star equipment. Even the natural wood ceilings are from recycled wood. The project was registered under the pilot program of the “Green Guide to Healthcare Buildings,” using the best practices for creating high performance buildings.

Healthcare Design 2010 November;10(11):197-198