Designed for Children

Norton Healthcare, Novak Center for Children’s Health

To Project Types

Louisville, Kentucky | 174,000 SF

A child-friendly medical center at the University of Louisville brings multiple specialties together in a building as sustainable and efficient as it is colorful.
Early color studies and concept renders

Patients at the Novak Center for Children’s Health often visit several specialties—neurology, hematology, ophthalmology— in a day; consolidating services eases the burden on families who previously had to crisscross the campus.

Each floor and location are highlighted by color.

Co-locating specialists makes it easy for doctors, nurses, medical residents, and other professionals to seamlessly collaborate within and across disciplines. Designed for children without looking childish, the Novak Center takes cues from the region’s indigenous plants and animals, and from kids themselves: The exterior’s soft, colorful curves represent how a child might draw the building.

Design evolution of blocked to curved massing
Completed building highlighting curved facade
Artboard 1

We are building the future of pediatric health care right here in Louisville.

Artboard 1 copy
- Charles Woods, M.D., interim chair of the UofL Department of Pediatrics

Large glass windows reveal people and activity inside the Novak Center’s community spaces, making the building seem less mysterious and more welcoming to young patients.

The vivid terracotta cladding on the exterior rain screen is colorfast and requires no mortar or sealants, reducing maintenance. The rain screen system allows air to flow in and out of the wall cavity, reducing the radiant heat load on the façade. The bright panels have a third less embodied carbon than other materials, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. An HVAC system of active chilled beams moves air throughout the building efficiently and sustainably. GBBN (core & shell design lead, executive architect, AOR) in collaboration with EYP (associate architect, medical planning & interior design).

Two balcony areas give patients and staff a moment of reprieve.

IIDA, National Healthcare Design Award, Ambulatory Pediatric Category Winner