ZGF Architects (Washington and Portland, Ore.) was hired by Heery Design (Atlanta) to provide interior design services for the new 507,000-square-foot University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, as well as the renovation of an existing NICU connected to the new building. A quilt theme was created for the interiors to represent the hospital’s belief that individual pieces can come together to create a greater whole.

Designers chose four Iowa landscapes— farmlands, woodlands, wetlands, and prairie—to evoke a sense of place for the graphics and wayfinding program. Each of the 14 floors is represented by a quilt block icon of a region with a specific color palette for each, including red, orange, and yellow for the farmlands; green representing the woodlands; blue for the wetlands; and the color purple for the prairie.

Graphics and wayfinding are integrated into the main corridors, procedural rooms, patient room entries, stairwells, and areas surrounding elevators and nurses’ stations on the patient floors. Scenes comprise patterns inspired by the nature within each habitat and can be found in floor icons, fiber-reinforced laminate panel murals, and door graphics, which are concentrated in the lower and upper portions of the doors to give caregivers clear lines of sight into the room while giving patients a sense of privacy.

Overall, the project included 124 patient room doors, 46 desks, 122 fiber-reinforced laminate murals, signage design direction, and icon and wayfinding design.


Project details:

Facility name: University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Completion date: February 2017

Client: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Total building area: 507,000 sq. ft.

Total construction cost: $360 million

Cost/sq. ft.: $710.06

Local architect : Heery Design

Shell and core architect: Foster + Partners

Interior design: ZGF Architects