With the opening of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village, patients received a more comprehensive pediatric clinic that supported a collaborative, efficient model of care in Long Beach, California. Gone were the days of navigating between any number of the 35 clinics at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. Now the four-story, 80,000-square-foot building, soon to be LEED Gold certified, sits on the main campus’ southeast corner, delivering a strong boost to the area’s pediatric care.
Adding a Splash of Color to Children’s Care
The L-shaped building is designed such that it minimizes distance between entryways into patient clinics and maximizes window area to allow natural light to run throughout the building. Two primary facades face the city and public ways, a large orange cube at the center to create engaging elevation. Meanwhile, a sweeping multicolored translucent glass entrance canopy welcomes users into the lobby.
Clean lines, organic forms, and bold colors offer pleasing design elements for all ages while providing intuitive wayfinding cues. For example, colored ribbons integrated into the terrazzo and resilient flooring guide patients and families to the various clinics. Arrival areas at the clinics are designated by brightly painted destination walls and complemented by biophilic forms in the ceilings. Exam room doors and entry flooring are punctuated with different colors as kid-friendly communication tools.
The project team, including Long Beach-based C/A Architects, used a Lean methodology and design-build approach for the overall vision. The Lean process gave staff a voice in the clinic design and allowed the hospital to refine processes. For example, typically offices sit empty part of the week, averaging 30 to 40 percent utilization. A hoteling concept for consolidating services takes advantage of a universal suit design, allowing practices to move in and out, as needed, with a better than 80 percent utilization factor anticipated.
Furthermore, employing onstage/offstage spaces for staff improves efficiency and operational costs.
Another version of this article previously appeared in Healthcare Design.