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Enhancing the Healing Process with Art and Architecture

March 20, 2012
Main Visitor Elevator Lobby in New Hospital

Curated artwork abounds in the new building, as featured here in the visitor's elevator lobby on the main level.

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The colors in American artist Spencer Finch's shimmering exterior are drawn from the paintings of French impressionist Claude Monet.

When it opens May 1, 2012, the new 205-bed Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital will transform the idea of care and community through art, design and functionality. Designed to inspire, Bloomberg Children's Center is the result of a unique and close collaboration between artists from across the country, a curator, a group of architects, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Johns Hopkins. Together, the team has helped to create not just a state-of-the-art medical facility but also a haven and place of healing that will feature more than 300 works of art selected especially for the building, created by over 30 artists. More  

The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center is named in honor of the mother of Michael R. Bloomberg--philanthropist, Hopkins alumnus, and Mayor of New York City--who contributed significant resources to make the facility and this creative collaboration come to life.



The design of the building and the integration of artworks specially created for Bloomberg Children's Center is integral to the mission of the institution, which seeks to bring comfort and healing to both the pediatric patient and their loved ones. Working together, the team from Johns Hopkins, the architecture firm of Perkins + Will, the landscape architects from Olin, along with consulting architect Allen Kolkowitz and curator Nancy Rosen, are reinforced by many other creative voices. Among them:

  • Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch, who has transformed the glass and steel curtain wall enclosure of the entire 1.5 million-square-foot building into a shimmering composition of color and light  More 
  • Set designer Robert Israel, who has created 11 whimsical, super-sized sculptures for the Bloomberg Children's Center's entry and soaring multi-level lobby  More 
  • Artist Jim Boyd, who has designed unique window shades for every patient room that are inspired by Baltimore's folk tradition of painting door and window screens  More 
  •  A roster of artists from Baltimore and across the country have created memorable works of art inspired by beloved children books and the joy of reading. These works will be integrated into lobbies and public areas throughout the hospital  More 

"The project was a tremendous opportunity for us all to work collectively using our broad vocabulary to create something unique," says Kolkowitz. "The architects had to learn to allow the artists a certain freedom and integrity to express their art in the architectural space. And the artists had to learn how to incorporate elements into the architectural core that integrate rather than explode out.

"Working together, we all became parts of a complex chorus. Some of us were sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in the background, but we were all always unified." 

"From the beginning there was tremendous support and enthusiasm from Johns Hopkins and the architectural team to think about art as a primary player in shaping the building,” adds curator Rosen.“Working closely with an art committee, and led by the Chief of Pediatrics (George Dover, M.D.), we seized on the opportunity to celebrate the joys and the benefits of reading as a central theme for our art collection."

CollaboratorsNancy Rosen, curator; Allen Kolkowitz, consulting architect, Perkins+Will, architects; OLIN, landscape architects and urban designers; Bloomberg Philanthropies, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Art+Architecture Initiative: Art Committee for the New Johns Hopkins Hospital Building.