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The basic rule of storytelling is 'show, don't tell.'

Julianna Baggott
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Storytelling is about two things; it's about character and plot.

George Lucas
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Bethany Children’s Health Center

TRANSFORMING A BELOVED CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL THROUGH HEARTFELT SPATIAL STORYTELLING

Situation

Hospital leaders wanted more than a clinical experience for their patients.

Hospitals and clinical environments can feel intimidating to patients, especially young children. During such a pivotal time in a child’s life, it’s important to punctuate the experience with empathy, care, and compassion.

Bethany Children’s Health Center in Bethany, Oklahoma, partnered with PlainJoe, A Storyland Studio, to create a themed experience that brings joy to kids and their families during some of the most challenging times in their lives. The hospital serves children with complicated medical conditions, some of which are severe and terminal. As a result, many of these kids return for repeat visits over a long period of time, or even remain at Bethany for extended stays.

Solution

Embracing a Route 66 theme – inspired by its location along the Mother Road and the journey of each patient.

The PlainJoe team started with a BlueSky concept to develop the hospital’s new look and feel, as well as a full master plan for its new campus.

We’ve partnered with a local hospital architect in the design of a new four-story, 200,000-square-foot tower. In that new structure, as well as a design refresh to the rest of the hospital, the goal is to inspire a sense of curiosity, adventure, joy, and fun in each child who enters, even in the midst of uncertainty.

The landscape architecture is designed to be intentional about creating a beautiful, inviting space with walkable paths for parents, kids, visitors, and employees to explore.

Bethany’s location along historic Route 66 offers plentiful opportunities to dream up metaphors that pair well with the journey of each child. It is just one stop on their journey. We’ve leveraged Route 66 imagery and icons for the journey, while simultaneously creating an original cast of characters children can interact with during their stay.

Our concept features a four-stories-tall caterpillar that spans the hospital’s entrance and serves as one of the characters children meet along the way. Just as each child will encounter the unexpected and the transformative, the caterpillar will transform, too. The caterpillar is destined to become an icon not only for Bethany, but perhaps the next great roadside attraction along Route 66, in the company of giant whales and dinosaurs.

Transformation

Fun drives away fear.

When kids arrive at Bethany, they’ll be immediately greeted by whimsical imagery to make them feel welcome. And when they enter the hospital, they’ll be greeted with a friendly sense of surprise and delight at every turn – giving them hope for the journey ahead.