University of Kentucky Healthcare NICU & Children's Hospital

Hospital Within A Hospital

The University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital is a hospital within a hospital. As part of the 70-bed NICU project, we incorporated environmental graphics into designing ground floor and first floor spaces to match their larger institution.

The NICU space was broken down into neighborhoods of 12 to 14 beds to provide a more personal scale and increase visibility. The staff were able to dedicate themselves to a smaller group of patients to allow better access for collaboration and care. Private respite spaces were included for staff to encourage huddles, support, and learning for the academic institution. Additionally, movement through the space was open to enable serendipitous connections between staff and families.

Environmental graphics were utilized to create a sense of place for the hospital and the neighborhoods within the department. Four Kentucky-related natural themes provide visual ownership of the 12-bed communities. These are seen through large mosaics at the entrance and smaller artwork throughout the neighborhoods. Attention was paid to driving as much natural light into the space as possible, through skylights and large-scale windows.


Lexington, Kentucky

Building Type

NICU, Children's Hospital


50,000 SF

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