2019 Honor Award
University of Chicago Medicine
In 2016, the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital sought to bring new life to a 5,000 square foot existing outdoor playground. The redesigned ‘play garden’ opened in 2018 and now provides a safe, inclusive, and imaginative place of refuge and healing for hospital patients and their families.
Play opportunities exist in many forms beyond just physical. Elements of music, nature, and art are found within an eccentric garden that was inspired by Dr. Seuss’ creative stories and imagery. The garden was carefully designed to immerse children of all physical abilities, including those in hospital beds, wheelchairs, and IV carts. Those with limited mobility can explore nearly every part of the play garden through accessible pathways and play features. The garden provides unique and creative play experiences, including those that focus on building cognition, social and environmental development, gross motor skills, speech and language, and fine motor skills. Various shapes, sizes, textures, and out-of-the-ordinary plants and flowers help make this a colorful, vibrant, and altogether unique space for patients and their families.