August 26, 2013

How does a team-building exercise while designing a hospital become a labor of love and symbol of peace? HKS and Akron Children’s Hospital found a way to combine their efforts to create a symbolic peace offering on the other side of the world.

During the interview for the Akron Children’s Hospital (ACH) Critical Care Tower project, the HKS team intermingled the story of “1,000 cranes,” explaining how ACH’s mission and vision statements express the essence of this chronicle. Craft, simplicity, dignity, compassion, community and hope were words used to describe ACH’s commitment to the community. 

The “1,000 cranes” story involves Sadako, a 2-year-old Japanese girl, who was exposed to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Initially, she had no apparent injuries, but nine years later was diagnosed with leukemia. Believing an ancient Japanese legend promising that anyone who folds a thousand origami paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, she began folding cranes, continuing until she passed away eight months later. Her death triggered a campaign to build a monument to pray for world peace and the peaceful repose of children killed by the atomic bomb. Later, the story spread, and now approximately 10 million origami cranes from all over the world are placed each year at the Children's Peace Monument – Tower of a Thousand Cranes.

Norio Tsuchiya, senior project designer, explains, “After we were awarded the project, Grace Wakulchik, ACH chief operating officer, asked us to use the “1000 cranes” theme as a team-building exercise during the project design. The team worked collaboratively on the tower design, while folding a “senba-zuru” – 1,000 origami cranes. The result will be a facility that adds a much-needed NICU, increased emergency department capacity and outpatient surgery center as well as a powerful team camaraderie built through the crane-folding exercise.” 

On July 29, 2013, HKS and ACH sent 1,000 origami cranes to Hiroshima to be placed at the Children’s Peace Monument, delivered a few days before the 68th anniversary of the first-ever nuclear weapon used during wartime. 

HKS is ranked among the top healthcare architectural firms in the world by Modern Healthcare and BD World Architecture. Operating from 28 offices worldwide, HKS focuses on innovative healthcare design, process and delivery. The firm’s award-winning healthcare architecture includes 1,600 unique projects representing 78,000 beds and 166 million square feet. HKS projects have garnered numerous awards and coverage in worldwide publications. The firm’s healthcare specialists are highly respected international speakers.

 For more information, contact Norio Tsuchiya at

Posted in Health
Tagged 000 cranes, 1, Akron Children’s Hospital, Children's Peach Monument, Norio Tsuchiya