“Playing is the only thing that keeps me from feeling the pain”, said one child with cancer when speaking with the anthropologists that were trying to understand the patient’s needs. How could we build a Children’s Hospital? By starting with the wishes of those who would actually be treated there.
And not just any children’s hospital: one built out of the generosity and will of the people. For the first time in the past 30 years, with the support of 350,000 donors and 7,000 companies, Dăruiește Viață has initiated a project meant to change the standard of care, by bringing the patient to the heart of the system: #NoiFacemUnSpital.
The Children’s Hospital – a place to heal, but also to play
Initially designed as a three-story clinic, this project has turned into a Hospital with a total surface of approx. 12,000 sqm, 9 levels and a capacity of 187 beds. #NoiFacemUnSpital is bringing a series of firsts in the Romanian healthcare system: the first Pediatric Radiotherapy Department, a glass-only operating theatre, state-of-the-art technology, etc.
But, apart from the building, children also need to live out their childhoods while fighting the disease. For that reason, the Hospital’s interior design has been adapted to their needs. Dăruiește Viață has been working with Raluca Șoaita, one of the few Romanian architects preoccupied with medical infrastructure, who has dedicated the past 15 years to studying this field.
“When it came to #NoiFacemUnSpital, we focused on healing by ambient as well. One of our main objectives was to humanize the space, so the colors, lighting, materials, acoustics, planimetry, and proportions suggested all participated in creating a state of wellness, optimism, safety and trust.” – Raluca Șoaita, Tesseract Architecture, Project Architect
“The Tree of Life”, the concept that brings hope by design
The interior space of the Hospital was imagined as a “Tree of Life”, inspired by the conversations with the patients, and the children for which the hospital has become a second home. They told us that they missed their childhood games and that when you have an oncological disease and long treatments to undergo, the space can become even more constricting.
Having a good state of spirit is extremely important when fighting disease: happy colors, daylight, being close to nature and the dynamics of the space all have a positive effect on the mind.“The Tree of Life” is a semi-virtual space, where the city, nature, and outdoor world take over the hospital through a mix of sounds, images, videos, smells and fantastic stories, as soon as one enters the hospital.
What does the Hospital of the Future look like? Play, safety and efficiency
The project includes three interior design themes: playfulness (meant for the children), a feeling of safety for the families, and increased efficiency for the medical staff. The children are invited to play everywhere: in the lounge, halls, offices, wards, playrooms, cinema, radio station, green terrace, gym, a rock museum, and mini astronomical observatory.
In the future, #NoiFacemUnSpital will be expanding with a second building. Dăruiește Viață plans to turn this Hospital into a true medical campus, where children from all over the country can get treated, regardless of their disease.