The Children’s Healing
Experience Project

On October 29, 2017 the new Teck Acute Care Centre opened its doors on the BC Children’s Hospital campus. Designed with patients, families, and caregiver needs in mind, the building provides more clinical spaces, has better integrated technology, and reflects a more holistic approach in its environmental design. One aspect of this approach was the Children’s Healing Experience Project (or “CHEPs”). CHEPs strategically utilizes art and imagery to help promote healing and well-being within the new BC Children’s Hospital. An enriched healing environment with purposeful artwork has shown to help patients recover faster and reduce anxiety for patients, visitors, and staff. You can learn more about the new building here: The Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children's Hospital – Video Tour with Michael Bublé

I had the privilege to be involved with this year-long project as the main creative design lead. Collaborating with five community partners – the Vancouver Aquarium, the Royal BC Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Anthropology, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – I helped manage and design over 40 unique murals while also facilitating the production of 120 commissioned murals by independent artists. The design objectives were to ensure that the visuals reflected the unique content from each organization while retaining a whimsical approach that would appeal to patients of varying ages and also to families and caregivers. Passive interactive elements allows for storytelling, discovery, and the ability to be a “positive distraction” for visitors. 

Below please find a sampling of some of the murals that were designed. Photos provided by Raef Grohne unless noted.

The Vancouver Aquarium
There are 14 Vancouver Aquarium corridor murals within the Emergency and Medical Imaging areas of the new hospital. Compelling photographic images of BC’s coastal waters and marine life offer viewers a snapshot of our provincial beauty. Opportunities to learn and be positively distracted are found throughout each mural design in the form of trivia, infographics, or the occasional dad joke.

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Photo by Irvin Cheung

The Space Centre
The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre murals can be found in two main areas. One is the Gamma Imaging space where the room is wrapped in a seamless panorama of the solar system to help distract young patients from the MRI procedure. The other is in the Oncology area on level 8 where an immersive environment is created through a simulated “space walk” experience.

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The Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum murals celebrates the rich, natural history of British Columbia. Working with the museum’s content creators, the murals are populated with fun facts, bright colours, engaging visuals, and a beautifully painted landscape that features scenic vistas from all parts of the province.

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The Vancouver Art Gallery
Outside the main elevators on levels 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, & 8, visitors are presented with a curated selection of Emily Carr paintings from the Vancouver Art Gallery. This simulated gallery experience gives insight on the life of one of BC’s most notable fine artist and reinforces a sense of positivity through Carr's own inspirational quotes.

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The Museum of Anthropology
The murals for the Museum of Anthropology examines the shared values of world cultures through the exploration of artifacts from their collection. The murals acknowledges the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people through the inclusion of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ words on each scene.

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Photo by Irvin Cheung