Posted by Yvonne on 11.11.2009

Source: Health Facilities Management, photos by A Denmarsh

Children require a very different environment from adults – especially when it comes to navigation. Children’s cognitive mapping capabilities are not yet developed and they see and remember the environment quite different. As an example, where adults can use their cognitive map to picture the route in their head, and ‘cut corners’ on the way back, children need to return using the exact same route they have used before. Landmarks are therefore even more important for projects where children are navigating.

These images from the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, USA show how to create an environment that is memorable to kids and at the same time make them feel more comfortable in a hospital environment.

open reception greeter desk

Clearly marked help areas, like this reception/greeter desk, were designed to ensure hospital staff are clearly visible to visitors.

Butterfly screen

Graphics like this butterfly motif in the outpatient lobby appear throughout the hospital to help the transition from an unbalanced state to a balanced one.


The hospital’s four-story atrium provides a gathering place for families and patients. It features a two-story projection screen and access to a rooftop garden.

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