Child-centred Design

“We need to apply the National Children’s Strategy. The National Children’s Strategy, signed by the Government in the year 2000, says that children must be listened to, their childhood must be respected. The hospital must be built around the rights of children.”

- Roisin Healy, Consultant Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Crumlin Hospital 1988-2008


Children’s opinion on the location of their National Hospital was never sought.

Designing a child-centred hospital means listening to children. It means putting the rights, needs and preferences of children at the core of every design decision in order to create a non-hostile, child-friendly environment.

Children’s needs should dictate the site selection. And not the selected site dictating a compromised service to children.

Naturally this generates major design considerations such as:

  • Creating ample indoor and outdoor play areas for sick children and siblings
  • Providing comfortable space for parents to stay at their child’s bedside day and night
  • Constructing low rise buildings which are less intimidating to children
  • Having bedrooms south-west facing to maximise natural daylight
  • Embracing children’s vivid sense of imagination and love of nature in order to make their stay as fearless and pleasant as possible.

Where space is limited, these rights, needs and preferences will be compromised, and ultimately it is the children who will suffer.

St James’s


  • Very limited outdoor space and play areas
  • No natural wildlife, water or open green landscape
  • 8 storeys high
  • Single-aspect bedrooms facing all orientations
  • Many outdoor and indoor play areas
  • Ample parkland
  • Natural Lake
  • Natural wildlife
  • Potential for all south-west facing bedrooms
  • Potential to limit building to 5 storeys

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