La Rabida Children’s Hospital Outpatient Center

Non-profit hospital expands care with bright, kid-friendly, themed “ponds”

La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois serves children requiring primary and specialty care to address complex and challenging medical conditions. La Rabida provides their services and treatment to all patients regardless of the family’s ability to pay.

La Rabida Children’s Hospital was VOA’s first client. This client is very special to our firm. We admire the tireless work they do on behalf of medically fragile patients and we were excited to support their mission by designing their new Outpatient Center.

VOA’s design for the Outpatient Center creates an enlivened sense of place with indoor/outdoor connections to the natural environment. A progression from the entry level opens onto double height space, revealing sweeping views of the lake. A folded blue form extends the length of the site, sheltering the entrance and extending over the top of the existing building, embracing the glass box.  A rain screen system along the clerestory level of this box offers shade and a “front porch” for the play area/healing garden, an extension of the interior reception area. Great Lakes-based characters in wall and floor finishes and artwork function as wayfinding guides, creating a sense of delight en route to four clinic “ponds.”

The interior design was driven by La Rabida’s strong brand identity, the unique location of their facility along Lake Michigan and the strength and enthusiasm of the children, families and staff. The space was designed to be whimsical but not juvenile in order to accommodate the varied ages of children frequenting the Outpatient Center. The uplifting design provides a setting where children can be “kids.”

Size: 24,000sf
Team members: Rebel Roberts, Brenda Bush-Moline, Doug King, Dustin Fife, Candace Small, Maria Barillas and Lauren Andrysiak

Photos by James Steinkamp

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