Nicklaus Children's Hospital /

In the heart of Miami, we unified a campus wayfinding system with a simple, accessible design in the midst of major development and renovation.

The challenge

Design a wayfinding system within a year for a sprawling, and aging, campus that experientially reinforces the organization’s position as an internationally diverse and technologically advanced children’s hospital.

The outcome

A language neutral visual vocabulary that carefully synthesizes three key attributes the hospital embraces: technology, friendliness, and universality – and a design system that easily moves people across a diverse landscape of interior and exterior space.

Research

Campus location

Campus location

Site analysis

Located in the middle of a densely populated suburban area, the hospital suffered from being land-locked in a time of growth, neighborhood restrictions and a singular ring road around the campus that posed wayfinding issues. Collectively, the campus experience was disjointed and confusing. Frequently, visitors were dropped off or required to park in a location that was far from their final destination.

12

Stakeholder interviews

3

Campus visits

3

Focus groups

Findings

  • Several competing wayfinding systems were overlaid and in use
  • The alpha numeric system for room numbering was out of sequence
  • Staff wayfinding messaging was inconsistent per destination
  • Parking for staff and visitors was unclear
  • Messaging for different languages was incorrect or inconsistent
  • There were repetitive, unnecessary, or dilapidated signs throughout

Strategy

Symbol set

Symbol set

Solve for language barriers

We introduced a set of simple shapes, purposeful placements, and universal color schemes to ensure maximum legibility, regardless of nationality or language. Our solution communicates an approachable feel through expressive typography and simple geometric architecture. The colorful system represents the multiple nationalities that come to the hospital from South Florida and the United States, Latin America, and the world.

Campus map

Campus map

Symbol, color, and maps

Our solution creates a physical “interface” in the built environment reminiscent of buttons and shapes in digital user interface design. The design language (color, typography, form, organization) can be adopted for other technologies within the hospital system such as mobile applications, digital signage, and internal software. The built environmental graphics will visually “fuse” with the digital expressions throughout the hospital system, current and future.

Exterior wayfinding

The new construction relocated the main entrance by several city blocks to the opposite side of the campus. Additionally, a ring road encircled the hospital and presented a unique challenge to users who were trying to find the closest parking to their destinations. Primary departments, including Emergency, were separated by exterior plazas without interior access or clear wayfinding.

Friendly entry for parking garage

Friendly entry for parking garage

We solved the problem of proximity by directing visitors to one of three destinations that is closest to their appointment, reducing choices and renaming the parking structures with friendly colored car icons. We emphasized distance of travel for guests over funneling everyone to a formal main entrance because we learned that the campus is best utilized from three primary approaches. Overhead signs were utilized to clearly communicate available parking with large, colorful symbols. We also reinforces the guest’s position at the elevators of each parking structure.

Pedestrian directional

Pedestrian directional

Contextual mapping

Since the campus is broken up into several buildings that are separated by plazas, we created pedestrian directionals on the exterior that communicate the visitors current position within the complex. These simple pedestrian signs in the plazas help visitors by giving the shortest distance directions.

Departmental identification

Once inside, we created bright moments of color with custom wall surrounds that highlight common patient destinations and specific “you have arrived” moments. These areas were treated with the same color and iconography as the adjacent elevator and mapping system, which reinforces the users location within the campus.

Wall plaque

Wall plaque

Even basic wall plaques were considered a component of the wayfinding program. Rooms that are adjacent to key decision points, within a predetermined walking distance, leverage the icons and help visitors understand there is an elevator bay nearby.

Strategy

  • Create a universal, international icon system for wayfinding
  • Rely on symbols instead of words as much as possible
  • Create a cohesive brand language for exterior and interior
  • Unify the wayfinding system into a simplified map
  • Use bright colors indicative of the multiple cultures
  • Create memorable moments for interaction and narration

Design

Overhead vehicular directional

Overhead vehicular directional

Emergency department identification

Emergency department identification

Exterior wayfinding

Exterior overhead directional signs guide visitors to the appropriate garage, informing visitors of their current position while guiding them the appropriate destination. Since the campus is made up of large, outdoor spaces, we created pedestrian directionals that integrate into the surroundings, guiding visitors to the appropriate entrance.

Symbol concept

Symbol concept

Symbols applied to signs

Symbols applied to signs

Department identification and color surround

Department identification and color surround

Elevator lobby wall mural & identification

Elevator lobby wall mural & identification

Interior wayfinding

Upon arrival, visitors are met with a similar design program: bright colors, simple iconography and large, dimensional lettering that echo the exterior. Wall plaques that are adjacent to the elevator bays pick up the icon system, letting visitors know where they are in relation to other paths.

We created opportunities to surprise and delight along the way, through the use of interactive, mixed media and unique, story-telling events.

3D hologram & video wall installation

3D hologram & video wall installation

3D hologram narrative

3D hologram narrative

3D hologram with animated graphics

3D hologram with animated graphics

Interactive storytelling

The History and Innovation Wall was conceived as a digital exhibit. Located in the main lobby of the new patient tower, we created a seamless digital wall that incorporates 3D holographic displays – telling a unique patient success story and how technology saved a child’s life. The wall illuminates with digital messages integrated into the surface to display key moments in the history of the hospital as a leader in pediatric medicine. Additionally, we integrated a video wall with a custom sound alcove designed for the hospital’s various marketing efforts.

The Together Wall – campaign donor recognition exhibit

The Together Wall – campaign donor recognition exhibit

Campaign donor recognition

The “Together for the Children” campaign donor recognition wall commemorates generous donors who gave to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital over the course of a specific period of time, for a specific initiative. The wall integrates seamlessly into the built environment via custom acrylic painted panels that list the various donors to make up the word “together”.

Interactive donor recognition – 10 digital displays

Interactive donor recognition – 10 digital displays

Interactive donor recognition

To honor a growing list of major contributors to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, both past and present, we created an integrated, multi-touch digital array of displays that allows visitors to explore more about the donors and learn more about what it means to give. A custom, content managed back end allows the hospital to add donors and match them to their contribution level at any time. The wall displays donors within lists and according to the amount given.

Footprint

  • 213,000 sq. ft (new constrution)
  • 450,000 sq. ft. (renovation)

Services

  • Assessment, testing, design and documentation
  • Contextual analysis
  • Naming and nomenclature design and development
  • Vehicular wayfinding
  • Parking structure graphics and pedestrian wayfinding
  • Concept and thematic architectural development
  • Donor recognition standards
  • Permanent donor recognition design and implementation
  • Interactive donor recognition design and development
  • Software design and development
  • Design and storyboards for interpretive narration

Project partners

  • Hammes Company, program manager
  • PM Screen, technology and software
  • DCL Orlando, fabrication
  • Graphtec, fabrication

Photography

  • Studio LHOOQ

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