The exciting undulating facade of the new Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care speaks volumes about the movement happening inside the building. It begins to tell a story of the exuberance and playfulness of healthy children — who play outside and project a variety of motions. The metaphor of “motion” can also speak of the journey toward health and wellness, and of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s tireless pursuit of excellence in the healing process.

Building upon this metaphor, FKP Architects (the architect of record) conceived an overall “children in motion” theme for the Buerger Center, which is colorfully and artfully integrated into every corner of the building. Even within the parking garage — often a family’s first and last impression of their experience — the theme adds life and excitement, and offers visual cues to help visitors find their way. Each parking level is clearly identified by one of five brightly colored icons of “vehicles” that might set a child in motion. For example, Level One is identified by a unicycle, Level Two by a bicycle, Level Three by a tricycle, and so forth.

Upon entering the front doors, one’s attention is immediately piqued by the exciting and carefree activity of the winding lobby ramp. It embodies the journey toward health and fitness, while at the same time representing the boundless and soaring hope of a child. Intertwined within the movement of the ramp is the main lobby donor recognition wall, which reiterates the theme through color, motion, and unique interaction for children.

Like the parking levels, the interior of the Buerger Center explores the many kinds of motions that enrich children’s bodies, minds, and souls through larger-than-life imagery. Each floor celebrates a unique motion, such as “run”, “roll”, “fly”, or “climb.” As visitors step onto any given floor, they are greeted by lovely images that hint at that floor’s particular motion. This visual celebration of “child in motion” continues throughout the Wait Play-Learn areas and patient encounter rooms, which all incorporate state-of-the-art safety and infection control features.

The architectural team included FKP as the architect of record, Pelli Clarke Pelli as associate design architect, and Nelson Byrd Woltz landscape architects.

In addition to this core team, Metcalfe Architecture & Design, a Philadelphia firm of architects, artists, designers and planners worked to bring the theme of “children in motion” to life by designing a robust collection of interactive experiences and environmental graphics in and outside the building, further setting the stage for a positive healing process.


  The Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care will feature two major landscape spaces: a 2.6-acre plaza and 14,000-square-foot roof garden.

The plaza

Embedded within a compelling framework of native plantings, meandering paths and water features, the gardens of the plaza invite staff, patients, and the public to interact with the healing qualities of the therapeutic landscape. A variety of spaces, from immersive medicinal gardens to informal lawns, create a rich experience for the visitor.

The roof garden

The 6th floor roof garden not only will provide a place of respite for staff and patients, but also will offer therapeutic opportunities through production gardens, an interactive fountain rill, and a rehabilitation course. The design of the fountain is inspired by the Schuylkill River. The layout of the planting beds reference the street grid of Philadelphia. These features create a sense of place within the local context.

Views of green space

The building is designed to provide patients with views of the plaza and roof garden. Studies show that green space provides a calming influence that reduces stress, speeds the healing process, and increases productivity. Patients often report feeling better after spending time in a garden and tolerate medical procedures more easily. The newly created landscapes embody the Buerger Center’s mission as a designated place for reflection, recovery and healing by using the best sustainable practices and green initiatives, which in turn reflect a lush and healthy ecology. With philanthropic support, these breathtaking green spaces will reach their full potential, reinforcing the building as a place of comfort, healing and all-around excellence. Interested in supporting green spaces at CHOP? Please see naming opportunities for more information, email or call 267.426.6500.


  The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is devoted to building a healthier future for children. In that spirit, we also look to create sustainable buildings that respect the environment. The Buerger Center is being designed to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a measure of eco-friendly construction practices and energy-efficient building. CHOP has designed the Buerger Center to have minimal environmental impact through the use of sustainable building practices.


  FKP Architects (Architect of Record) FKP Architects’ themeline is “Transforming business by design.®” This philosophy relies on an approach in which FKP assumes the role of facilitator and leader in reaching the best design decisions and outcomes for all consumers of the healthcare environment — patients, staff, physicians, administrators and the community. Within the very real constraints of economics, transformational design integrates the principles of LEAN Operations, Evidence-Based Design, Sustainability Architecture and Healing Environments. These guiding philosophies all have merit, and they can exist in harmony if they are analyzed, weighed, balanced and integrated. FKP finds solutions that create a path to transformation. Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBWLA) is dedicated to aesthetic and environmental excellence in the design of public space and working landscapes. Both urban and rural projects are grounded in conservation of natural resources, water quality, increased biodiversity, public health, and ecological resilience through design. Since its founding, NBWLA has grown to offer wide-ranging design services for diverse project types including public parks, university and corporate campuses, urban planning, botanic gardens and arboreta, and farmland conservation. The work of the firm is internationally recognized and has garnered more than 85 national, regional, and international awards in the past 14 years. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects From the World Financial Center in New York to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong, Pelli Clarke Pelli has designed many prestigious projects. Their work has received critical acclaim and hundreds of design awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ Firm Award, the highest honor for an architectural practice. In 1995, the American Institute of Architects awarded Cesar Pelli the Gold Medal, its highest honor for an individual. In 2004, the firm was given the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the Petronas Towers.