Positive Distractions

Positive Distractions

The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital scored big with jurors for a 2018 Design Showcase Award of Merit: Rising To The Top.

The project did well for a variety of reasons but one of my favorites was the thoughtful design and positive distractions meant to entertain, soothe and heal. In the featured photo shown above, you may observe the theater wall that extends out into the lobby.

Shown here are the custom graphics printed on protective wall panels. The graphics are reminiscent of Iowa’s natural landscape.

The Press Box


Another key feature that is getting a lot of attention is the “Press Box”. The Press Box is a rooftop space that offers patients and their families a view inside Kinnick Stadium (home of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team).

The penthouse space—and its bird’s-eye view of home games—not only provides patients with a positive distraction during their hospital stays, it also creates a connection to the community. Fans have even instituted a tradition of turning toward the hospital to wave to patients in the box at the end of each game’s first quarter.

About University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

The 14-story, 507,000-square-foot hospital, which opened in February 2017, further improves the patient experience by bringing all the hospital’s pediatric services, which were previously scattered across the university’s campus in Iowa City, Iowa, under one roof with a 28-bed PICU, eight ORs, a 32-bed NICU, two 28-bed med/surg units, an infusion and dialysis center, and a pediatric cancer center.


Anne DiNardo. “2018 Design Showcase Award of Merit: Rising To The Top.” HCD Magazine, 6 Aug. 2018, www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/news/awards-events/2018-design-showcase-award-of-merit-rising-to-the-top/#slide-1.

Photo Credits (in order of appearance):

  1. Todd Mason/Halkin Mason Photography
  2. Wayne Johnson, Main Street Studio
  3. Jeffrey Becker