For a hospital, good design is when it helps patients forget where they are. That was the philosophy of Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership when conceiving the public spaces for the ground-up Hassenfeld
Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Health
in Kip’s Bay. Lee Skolnick and his team,
along with Ennead Architects, NBBJ, and
the hospital’s in-house creative staff, worked with the theme of New York is a Wonderland, tailoring elements to be lighthearted for the patients and engaging for the parents—“whimsical yet sophisticated,” he says.
Throughout the 160,000-square-foot facility are rooms referencing the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, and Radio City Music Hall. But it’s in the main lobby that creativity soars and spirits are fortified. That’s where Skolnick has essentially rebuilt New York Harbor—albeit smaller and on land.
Beneath a dreamy ceiling painted sky blue with billowing clouds, the base of a nautically navy, curved banquette is faced with waves of mosaic tile in a coordinating palette. Tugboat-red vinyl upholsters the oval stools docked on the terrazzo floor, another wave there delineating the boundary between the water and Liberty Island. Then of course the harbor’s most famous sight, the Statue of Liberty, is in residence. She rises up 15 feet from another vinyl-covered bench, here star-shaped like the actual statue’s pedestal. But instead of copper and steel, this Lady Liberty is rendered in more than 80,000 kid-friendly Lego bricks.