From humble beginnings over 2,500 years ago, Suzhou is now a booming urban center of over one million people. Famous for its classical gardens, the Children’s Hospital at Soochow University seeks to connect to the city’s verdant heritage to transform the institutional image traditionally associated with children’s hospitals in China.
The design of Soochow Children’s Hospital was inspired by the process of cell division: the body’s natural way of growing and healing. The hospital’s form is derived to imagine the telophase stage of cell division, and creates an overall building shape that is flexible and efficient, enabling the most complex and also routine patient-care activities, healthcare research, and educational opportunities.
The curvilinear forms of the architecture, and the sensitive use of color and texture, make the facility welcoming and approachable. Further, the hospital offers a full continuum of care for a vulnerable patient population in efficient inpatient and outpatient settings.
The perception of cleanliness is culturally significant. The uncluttered, minimalist design of the atrium, cloaked in white, conveys a suitably pure and sanitized environment for healthcare, even as the curved, light-filled form communicates a soothing environment.
A series of courtyards, inspired by those prevalent in the city, breaks down the mass of the 1.2 million square-foot building. These open gardens allow natural light and ventilation to reach the center of the main hospital, exposing patients and family to the healing properties of nature. Gardens also line the southern border of the river canal, providing outdoor areas for leisure and recreation, and a fully accessible green roof provides a place of respite for patients and their families.