Submitted by: EwingCole (Philadelphia)

Tenet Healthcare St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Critical Care Tower (Philadelphia) is a four-story, 135,000-square-foot tower addition that is in line with the hospital’s commitment to providing high-quality pediatric care.

The exterior includes a new main entrance concourse and canopies to serve car drop-off and patients walking from the parking garage, prominently lit building-mounted signage, as well as glass and brick fenestration. A pedestrian bridge spanning the new entrance drive connects the critical care tower to the existing parking.

The open floor plan of the main lobby leads to the new admissions center and allows families easier access from the parking garage into the lobby. One of the unique aspects of the main lobby is the installation of a hot air balloon mosaic that comprises 180,000 individual marbles installed in a series of 200-pound panels. The floors are a neutral cream and gray and include origami in the shapes of boats, butterflies, and swans. These act as wayfinding elements as they lead patients and families to their destinations.

Custom digital graphics showcasing Philadelphia neighborhoods adorn the walls and the ceilings are a mix of acoustical, drywall, and exposed ceiling that furthers the airy, open concept design. These interior design elements reduce environmental stresses by creating positive focal points.

The tower houses a 39-bed neonatal intensive care unit with all private beds—and is designed to expand to 47 beds in the future. The new space brings the entire unit onto one floor. The new NICU also features floors and ceilings that dampen sound, and advanced communication and alarm systems.

Project category: New construction

Chief administrator: Kate Donaghy, director, marketing and communications

Firm: EwingCole,

Design team: EwingCole (architect, interior designer, and engineer)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 135,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $481

Total construction cost (excluding land):  $65 million

Completed: May 2016