Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Children’s Emergency, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
HKS Inc.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center created a new and distinctive Children’s Emergency department by transforming an existing campus parking garage.  The 24-hour facility provides clear identity and easy access, located near a campus arterial road and adjacent to the existing adult ED. 

The challenge was to renovate the lower level of an existing 2-storey parking structure, accommodating the required programme while creating a colourful and unique environment.  The parking structure’s exterior transformation reflects a composition of thoughtful and sympathetic forms, colours and textures.  Emphasis is placed on the project’s unique image and the patient’s experience. 

The concept draws inspiration from children’s inherent dynamic movement, art and sculpture and from fundamental personal connections towards which children of all ages gravitate.  Inspiration from a playful mix of colours, roller coasters, kaleidoscopes and colourful ribbons in motion is intend to offer diversion and ease anxiety. 

The 22,000 sq ft department features a covered patient drop off zone and separate ambulance staging area away from public access, 22 treatment rooms, diagnostic radiography, computerized tomography (CT), trauma centre and waiting area for children and families. 

The exterior arrival provides the playfulness of sweeping tubular forms and geometric glass shapes that symbolise the blended image of roller coaster and kaleidoscopes.  The concept becomes more apparent within the interior spaces, by the entry and waiting room patterns of shaped colours and layers. 

Three colourful canted walls dividing the space evoke the essence of a twisting kaleidoscope, while looking through the layers toward the exterior window presents a pattern of colourful glass, imitating the beads of a kaleidoscope.  Nurse stations boast colourful imagery and patterning, surrounded with geometric shapes in flooring, ceiling, lighting and artwork that continue the theme. 

The new facility, by dramatic transformation, is delivering urgent medical care specific to children and families in a colourful healing environment.

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