Image by Peter Molick
Driscoll Children’s North Pavilion
Corpus Christi, Texas
Driscoll Children’s Hospital (DCH) is one of eight free-standing pediatric hospitals in Texas and the largest and most established in South Texas. It offers more than 30 medical and surgical specialties to residents of a high-poverty and underserved region. The new Driscoll Children’s North Pavilion is remarkable for its use of color to support the institution’s brand, create an intentional first impression on patients and their families, and function as a means of wayfinding in this bilingual community.
The original building that houses DCH dates to 1953 and is still in use today. Page has had the opportunity to work with DCH for the past 20 years on interior renovations and significant building expansion projects. Most recently, the new five-story, 180,000-square-foot pavilion expands the campus by creating connectivity from the parking garage to all major DCH buildings and services. It houses the 22-bed pediatric intensive care unit and outpatient services lab as well as a day hospital for outpatient surgery.
At the outset, Page and the client agreed that color was to be an essential element of the pavilion’s design expression and not just paint applied to walls and other surfaces. The design team set out to establish a clear and resolute design concept that utilized color as a functional theme. The pavilion celebrates color and how that color is expressed in light and form, both inside and out.
In 2016, Page designed a new entrance to the DCH emergency department. That 6,000-square-foot expansion was the first project in a comprehensive campus expansion and modernization program. The project was significant because it began a facility transformation to create truly signature branding that embraces the use of color in design and appeals to DCH’s young population base. This double-height addition is located on the main building front façade, so it provided the perfect launching pad for a new visual identity for the institution.
As a pediatric health care institution, DCH felt the prominent use of color in its branding and interior environments would create a positive first impression on children and their families by evoking feelings of joy. It would be strategically used to enhance an environment of safety and establish a sense of belonging in what can be a frightening environment for patients and parents alike.
Its use extends beyond the public spaces, continuing into clinical areas of the facility as well, where it is more subdued. The successful use of full spectrum color in these spaces to identify rooms and areas for patients and families also creates a varied experience for staff and physicians.
When the design team began discussions with DCH leadership about goals for the new pavilion, a distinctive opportunity utilizing color was quickly identified. All entry points and major pathways throughout DCH would be connected into a singular linking experience and would be called Driscoll Way. It travels through existing public spaces, and the new pavilion is at its nexus. Color as a wayfinding tool has been a successful element to help patients and families navigate the facility
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