University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Stead Family Children's Hospital

Finalist 2018

The design team provided interior design services for the new 14-story, 507,000 sq. ft University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Stead Family Children's Hospital, as well as the renovation of an existing NICU connected to the new building. The hospital houses 189 acute critical care beds, including a PCICU, a PICU, a new 56,250-square-foot NICU, imaging, dialysis, infusion and a pediatric cancer center.

The design concept and strong environmental graphics program took its cues from the hospital's belief that individual interdependent pieces can come together to create a greater whole. This theme was expressed by a quilt, capturing the story of Iowa's unique landscapes to evoke a sense of place. Graphic displays feature four scenes familiar to Iowans (farmlands, wetlands, woodlands and prairies) that aid in wayfinding vertically. These stories are also extended into each unit.

The scenes are comprised of patterns inspired by the nature within each habitat. Layers of detail unfold through interwoven graphic icons at door entries, finish materials and the application of color to each floor. These graphics are fully integrated into the main corridors, procedural rooms, patient room entries, stairwells and the areas surrounding elevators and nurse stations on each of the hospital's upper 11 levels. Together it creates an optimistic healing environment and positive distractions for patients.

The design process included creating full-scale mock-ups of patient rooms and procedural areas to allow patients, technicians and physicians to experience the space and provide feedback on the displays. More than 600 faculty nurses, children and parents helped inform the design.

Design Firms: 

ZGF Architects


Heery Design

Project Area: 

563,250 sq ft

Open Date: 

February 2017

Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Halkin Mason Photography (photography)

Design Team: 

Jordan Grant (experiential graphic design), Mark Booth (interior design), Jan Willemse (design partner), Kari Thorsen (interior design), Terri Johnson (interior design), Bill Hutchinson (project management)


Panolam, Architectural Arts

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