High technology and design whimsy come together to provide the residents of New Jersey with a Pediatric facility where more patients are cared for than at any other hospital in New Jersey.

Creating Saint Barnabas Medical Center's Pediatric Center of Excellence began with bringing all Pediatric service lines to one location, creating a “hospital within a hospital.” Now, with the fourth floor dedicated to Pediatrics, the designers could create child-friendly spaces at the elevator lobby.

The renovated Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is designed to accommodate parents overnight without compromising the space staff needs for round-the-clock care. A nursing substation is located between every two rooms, and staff can move freely between the rooms, as well. While most ICU designs incorporate vision panels to provide staff with visual contact with patients and monitors, the designs for this PICU go a step further by utilizing sliding, breakaway doors between each set of two rooms. This step-saving feature is crucial in cardiac recovery situations, a function the rooms were designed to accommodate. Cubicle curtains were included for privacy.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed February 2005)

Chief administrator: John F. Bonamo, MD, Executive Director, (973) 322-4057

Firm: Array Healthcare Facilities Solutions, (610) 270-0599

Design team: Lisa Naide Lipschutz, AIA, ACHA, Project Designer; Gregory A. Hamilton, Project Manager; Valerie A. Smeltz, Interior Designer; Emily Bula-Connor, AIA, Project Coordinator

Photography: © Tom Crane

Total building area (sq. ft.): 13,725

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $204

Total construction cost (excluding land): $2,800,000

The finishes combine homelike features such as wood and upholstery with maintainable surfaces such as Corian and laminate. In the PICU, the rich wood tones complement the bright casework, which brings the unit to life visually. The corridors, walls, and patient-room doors act as artwork for the unit, with jewel-tone light fixtures, sun-yellow soffits, and broad swatches of color, which visually widen the doorframes and continue below the handrail. The Welcome Center combines soft, rounded soffits and elegant pendant lights with bench/table seating, so that siblings have a place to play. Adult- and child-scale furniture, built-in play areas with an aquarium, and a kitchen area support each family's needs.