Centered on the concept of “playing is healing”, Integrated Field (IF) Architects has designed a 6,000m² children’s hospital in Bangkok‘s Samut Sakhon neighbourhood in Thailand.
People seldom like to be in a hospital environment, which is driving more medical institutions to create a more pleasant and friendlier space, with the help of architectural and interior elements that closely resemble a shopping mall or luxury hotels.
Although luxury isn’t something that can comfort patients in face of pain, fear of needles or medicines, the architecture team worked with elements that will bring them happiness throughout their experience at the hospital.
“With children, we discovered that ‘fun’ is what every child instinctively looks for, regardless of their background.” – Integrated Field
This approach led the team to design a giant slider situated right at the front of the entrance hall. The waiting area of each clinic is designed into a playground. The programme also includes an indoor swimming pool that has a bunch of artificial clouds floating atop.
The playful character is infused by creating various physical shapes, colours and symbols materialised from the design language that is made up of delicately curved lines, arches, and deliberately avoiding the perfect geometric forms. As such, the form is predominantly circular and fluid instead of linear and angular features.
These lines are formed into the arches constructed above the doorways and seating areas with the sizes calculated to correspond with children’s body proportion, creating a built environment that truly accommodates children’s behavioral patterns and preferences.
The pastel hues lend a softer touch to the place as an antidote to the rigours of medical treatment. A scenario is designed and constructed near the pharmacy counter as a part of the layout of the ‘waiting area’, which embraces the ‘play space’. The programme enables interactions between parents and children while allowing the adults to watch over their little ones during the wait. The use of indirect light with all the hallways of the hospital ensures that young patients won’t be disturbed by the discomfort of excessive brightness.
The hospital offers four room types, categorised not as a standard, special or suite room, but in the friendlier names of Whale, Turtle, Lion and Rabbit Constellation. Each room is decorated in a different color and installed above the bed is a glow-in-the-dark constellation with a customised lamp to provide both a standard lighting and the level of illumination that is suitable for a good night’s sleep.
Photos: Ketsiree Wongwan