Students' design to help firm envision new children's hospital

A family-centered environment, healing gardens and lots of visual exposure to natural environments are features of a preliminary design for a new children’s hospital in Richmond, Va. created as a final study project for a Dallas-based architecture firm by Suyong Jin, a Master of Architecture student at Texas A&M University.

“The Children’s Hospital of Richmond will be built on the Virginia Commonwealth University medical campus in Virginia from a final design by HKS Inc.," said Jin.

Jin said the healing garden in his design could help reduce patient stress.

“A well-designed garden can be hugely advantageous for hospital patients,” he said. “Gardens can decrease stress and perceptions of pain, and have a positive effect on pediatric patients, staff and families by reducing negative emotional states, anxiety, sadness, anger, worry and pain.”

Jin’s design also includes an outdoor area overlooking natural settings, which research shows reduces blood pressure and muscle tension in patients, he said.

“Views of nature are positive distractions that can assist patients experiencing pain by focusing their attention on nature,” he said. “An outdoor area that provides views of nature helps patients take a break from feelings of anxiety.”

Playrooms incorporated into the design will provide the younger young patients with a positive distraction from the anxiety of being hospitalized, said Jin. The design also provides areas for music therapy, an effective strategy for decreasing anxiety and the perception of pain among pediatric patients undergoing painful procedures, he said.

Advising Jin in his project were Marc Budaus, HKS associate principal and senior vice president, and Jason Maloney, HKS senior designer. Jin met HKS designers when he accompanied students in an Architecture-For-Health studio led by George J. Mann making presentations at HKS’ office in Dallas.

posted April 30, 2012