DeVos Children's Hospital has created the area's first dedicated pediatric radiology department. The new unit includes ultrasound, fluoroscopy, radiography, a sedation suite, waiting rooms, reception, a children's playroom, and adolescent waiting rooms.

A nature theme was recommended based on goals expressed by the team members. Nature—alive and growing—has a healing influence. The desired outcomes were to engage people in their environments, provide distractions that are interesting and fun to explore, help children experience less anxiety, and nurture the human spirit through nature.

Design features include a waiting room topped with a round bulkhead with fiberoptic lighting, giving the feeling of a sky full of twinkling stars, and an aquarium that can be seen from both the corridor and the waiting room. A counter surrounds the aquarium so that children can sit at the level of the fish and observe their activity.

A window-wall mural in the playroom illustrates the story of an adventuresome frog and his friends. Another interesting feature of the playroom is a porthole through which children can “spy” on the reception/waiting area, much like they might do from a tree house.

The corridor resembles a woodland path, including stylized trees with foliage and cloud bulkheads.

The result demonstrates that high-technology equipment can be successfully blended with an interior that places people at ease, allowing for a positive, less stressful experience. Going to the hospital can actually be fun!

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed April 2003)

Chief administrator: Matt Van Vranken, President, (616) 391-1774

Firm: URS Corporation, (616) 574-8500

Design team: Joseph P. Greenan, RA, Project Principal; David J. Byl, AIA, Project Manager; George F. Lewis, AIA, NCARB, Planner/Designer; Matthew Kennedy, AIA, NCARB, Planner/Designer; Mary Bamborough, IIDA, Interior Designer

Photography: © Justin Maconochie

Total building area (sq. ft.): 7,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $168

Total cost (excluding land): $1,176,000