First Look: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, an inpatient behavioral health facility

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio is expanding mental health services for children and adolescents with a new five-story, 160,000-square-foot facility currently under construction on their campus in the city’s College Hill community.

The design of this facility was an opportunity to rethink the range of therapeutic settings known to the environment. These are the places where patients spend most of their time, participating in group therapy, guided activities, free choice time, and other therapies. The design of the building was influenced by the location, the diversity of the environment in the units and their role as common resources and destinations. The design emphasizes meaningful environments that simulate navigation during the day, such as the changing classrooms in a school. Spaces include positive distractions and allow for different behaviors – such as pacing, rocking, or self-expression; Built-in seating and corners allow patients to comfortably occupy the edges of the room.

There are private inpatient rooms in ‘sleeping suites’ distributed over each unit; Sleeping suites can be closed during the day as patients participate in group therapy, guided activities, free time and other treatments in the surrounding spaces.

Creating a more transparent environment was another goal of the project. The new building will house a greater range of common spaces outside of patient rooms, providing more opportunities for families to support children during treatment. Families will also be able to access support through the Family Resource Center and Café.

Dichroic glass on the exterior facade and in a skylight in the lobby add a sense of transparency, invite curiosity, create interest, and a feeling of something new on each visit. The new admissions area will enhance the admissions experience by providing a central location for patients to receive initial medical evaluation and counseling prior to their admission. It features an open entrance, a dedicated entrance for patient transport, and space for families to wait.

The building will have a lively feel, incorporating materials that evoke nature, rounded edges, abundant sunlight, and views of the landscape – all designed to encourage visitors to stay and make it a haven for patients and their families alike.


Project details:

Facility Name: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, College Hill’s new behavioral health facility

Venue: Cincinnati, Ohio

Expected completion date: late 2023

Owner: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Total building area: 160,000 square feet.

Total project cost: $99 million

Cost / square meter. Feet: undisclosed

Architectural firm: GBBN

Interior Design: GBBN

General Contractor: Maissar Construction

Road, Art and Graphics: Kolar Design

Architectural Support: WA Architects

Builder: Construction Facilitator

Engineers: Schaefer & JCA (Structural); CMTA (MEP); Bayer Baker (civilian)

Technology: Motz Engineering

Lighting: AEI & Pivotal

Landscaping: The Kleingers Collection

Sustainability: Sol Design + Consulting

Medical Equipment: Walsh Consulting Group


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Written by Joseph

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