FROM THE AIA:
As the first pediatric hospital-based facility in the U.S. to reunite patients with their own pets, we wanted to evoke a distinct feeling of being at the park or in your own backyard. In order to keep pets in a more controlled setting and outside of the hospital itself, the project was conceived of as a simple shelter with a prefab system for quality control, schedule, and cost. Research on systems led to the selection of a bus-shelter manufacturer willing to customize their product to meet the project needs. The resulting collaborative effort led to this specialized structure. Its location was determined by site constraints: a compact site of leftover space close to an existing door at the core of the hospital campus with close vehicular access. A major design challenge was integrating the external Pet Center into the hospital surroundings without creating any life-safety issues that would impede code approval.
It is rare to find a project of this scale that is so carefully considered and crafted with such optimism. The purpose of the project is itself innovative and the design team responded with a bit of whimsy and a lot of skill to activate a dreary outdoor space for an important patient experience. This diminutive, but important, intervention brings joy and hope to hospital patrons and their four legged companions. Every children’s hospital, and many adult facilities can take a lesson about the need for patients to heal by connecting with their pets in this little gem of a design solution. Outstanding concept and very well executed! This insightful solution solves myriad challenges – accessibility, weather protection, cost effectiveness, site constraints – elegantly and seemingly effortlessly.