August 1, 2014

Created as an “oasis for children,” the HKS-designed Children’s Hospital of Richmond Pavilion (CHoRP) recently received the AIA/AAH National Healthcare Design Award in the Unbuilt category. The design for CHoRP leverages it as a gateway to the downtown medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCUHS). 

The AIA/AAH Healthcare Design Awards showcase the front-runners in healthcare building design, planning and design-oriented research, also highlighting the trends of healthcare facilities and the future direction of these facilities. Award recipients are premier exemplifiers of conceptual and functional strength while addressing aesthetic, civil and social concerns. 

Visitors enter the 3-story atrium graced with a monumental connecting stair. An elevated sky lobby streams into an expansive outdoor sky garden equipped with an interactive play space.  “The sky garden and atrium will be truly unique spaces in the city, bringing nature to the heart of the urban campus,” states Greg Luongo, AIA. “With an emphasis on physical and abstract connections to nature, the pavilion will have a calming, restorative effect on all users, reducing anxiety and stress, and in turn, promoting healing and improved outcomes.” 

The pavilion's central location offers CHoRP an opportunity to showcase their enlivened image in the heart of the community. Elements from the surrounding environment add to the bold yet inviting aura and serve as a testament to the hospital's innovation. Meanwhile, the intrinsic elements and physical manifestation of the pavilion allow it to be a cohesive piece of the city's fabric.

Concepts for the overarching design, as well as detailed finishes, originate from Richmond’s waterways, lush gardens and wooded land. The glass curtain wall reflects the sky and is illuminated in the sunlight, alluding to the reflective qualities of the adjacent James River. Stepped planters with native vegetation and a brick-and-stone paved façade mimic the river's edge.  

Street-level viewers can gaze upward to see trees gracing the sky garden's edges. Craig Rader AIA, LEED AP, project manager, explains, “Each step in the patient and family experience was designed to be enjoyable, welcoming and engaging.  The sky garden provides visual cues of the children’s oasis from street level, and is a desirable destination with which children and families can physically interact and enjoy.”

HKS is honored by this prestigious award and excited for the exposure it brings to the VCUHS mission. 

HKS is ranked among the top healthcare architectural firms in the world by Modern Healthcare and BD World Architecture. Operating from 27 offices worldwide, HKS focuses on innovative healthcare design, process and delivery. The firm’s award-winning healthcare architecture includes 2,000 unique projects representing 80,000 beds and 184 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 Sherri Smith at or Kathryn Stouffer at

Posted in Health
Tagged AIA/AAH National Healthcare Design Award, Children's Hospital of Richmond Pavilion, children's hospitals, Craig Rader, Greg Luongo, healthcare design, Virginia Commonwealth Universith Health System