The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital (SFCH) is the cornerstone development initiative that inspired a comprehensive new campus masterplan. As a University and academic medical center fundamentally embedded into the fabric and geography of Iowa City, SFCH reimagined the role of nature, light, and community engagement. This initiative streamlines healthcare services, elevates innovation, and fosters a new era of patient care delivery. The 14-story oval tower and its welcoming plaza is a planning and design revolution for the district, and a striking symbol of pride in progressive pediatric care. Heery Design, A SLAM Studio, designed the project with Foster + Partners serving as Design Architect on the exterior and ZGF providing integrated environment design.
During the schematic and design development phases, the design team met regularly with a Family Advisory Committee, a Youth Advisory Committee, as well as user groups. Their efforts resulted in efficiencies, themes, amenities, and future-state readiness with current-state creativity and innovation. Four working patient room mock-ups were fully finished and furnished for public tours, staff training, donor interest, and IT refinement. Several public open houses were held to encourage community feedback and showcase the planning and design progress. Highlighted were detailed studies on color theory, building orientation, wayfinding, and the enhanced campus experience.
Entry processional to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital overlooks the park and plaza area, located above the underground parking structure.
The extensive input from patients and families is evident in the inpatient rooms. The massive 7 foot by 13 foot window provides spectacular views and much appreciated natural daylight.