This week, maternal and children’s hospital interior design teams, which include clinical experts, housekeeping, and –  most importantly –  families, heard how architects have taken their feedback and adapted that to the design created by over 600 children and teenagers from north, central and southern Saskatchewan.

Overall ‘Saskatchewan’ inspired themes for the hospital.

Overall ‘Saskatchewan’ inspired themes for the hospital.

Allyn Stellmacher with ZGF architects, who is partnering with HDH architects from Saskatoon, kicked off these latest series of interior design and furniture meetings by providing an overview of how this hospital was designed by Saskatchewan families for Saskatchewan families, and how that interior has evolved based on feedback from interior design teams based in Saskatoon.

Stellmacher was one of the lead architects who travelled through Saskatchewan working with children, teenagers and families on the design of the hospital.

“It was a very powerful trip for all of us,” he shared Tuesday with the hospital’s interior design main group. “We started with a number of set tools to help us understand what drives a children’s facility. What do kids want? What are in their minds? We think as adults, ‘well, I know how to design a children’s hospital.’ But through a kid’s eyes, it’s a totally different experience. So, I think it was a very unique experience to sit in the classrooms with kids and go through colours, icons and room designs.”

Stellmacher explained that the engagement tour, the ideas submitted from that tour, and each of the subsequent hundreds of other ideas mailed in from school-aged children and teens around the province, helped his team better understand Saskatchewan and its people, especially those who travel long distances to come to Saskatoon under difficult circumstances. It set the stage for the interior design the hospital has today.

“This helped provide input to determine how we got where we are today and the direction of the design. Most of the kids were pretty clear verbally or in written form on what they wanted.”

Pediatric Outpatients Clinic Hallway

Pediatric Outpatients Clinic Hallway

As teams of parents, employees, doctors and our Foundation partners, dove into details, their feedback has been critical to enhance what the kids and teens had asked for.

Stellmacher’s team has designed children’s hospitals in Chicago, Colorado, Seattle and are currently involved with B.C. Children’s and B.C. Women’s Hospital. He says his team works to find the right balance of colour, sense of calm, appropriate lighting, and positive distractions while making sure the walls, flooring and furnishings last for years to come. Stellmacher says it’s tough to find that right balance of neutral tones and colour, given the variety of personal opinions and tastes.

“I think the strategy we use is how do we set up a strong canvas, neutral base with little bit of warmth on the whole floor. The focus on colour is trying not to do broad, saturated swaths of colours in larger areas, but thinking about setting up a simple template,” he explains. “The colours are what we call more of a punch – where you get these dollops of colour that are accented by what they contrast.”

Stellmacher told the group that this gives you more flexibility to change over the life of the facility with a neutral base.

Keeping up with the project
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“It also allows you a little bit more balance between maintaining light, setting the quality of light without getting it too saturated in the space,” he says. “I think that there are a number of facilities you could go to that have a lot more saturated colour that’s been spread out, but if you visit that in five years or 15 years,  it often can’t  be changed within that palette; it becomes difficult to future-proof. So, our strategy we have found to be effective is to get those functional floor plans established  and let the floor take on a very simple and supportive role and help set up the colour to be successful – you can put it in the graphics, you can put it in the color punches, and other key pieces that are much more effective as a strategy.”

Stellmacher says their goal is to give Saskatchewan a facility that is beautiful, can be easily maintained and adapted as styles change.

The interior design for the hospital is nearing completion, with a few outstanding areas to receive more attention such as the teen room and play space on the pediatrics floor. This week’s work also included final confirmation of furniture types, styles and layouts throughout the building.

Pediatric Inpatient Unit

Pediatric Inpatient Unit