Kiev – The bogeyman and doctors have something in common: nine times out of 10, children are afraid of them. If we’re lucky, age quells those fears for us… but a Ukrainian health centre wants to expedite that process.
A new outpatient children’s clinic designed by Ater Architect’s founding duo, Alexander Ivasiv and Yuliya Tkachenko, does just that. For Doctor U., their main goal was to create a stress-free environment that could foster an atypical medical experience for young patients, one that wouldn’t leave negative memories or lingering anxiety for the next visit. Beyond that, they wanted to create an interior that would deeply improve upon the standard of medical facilities in Ukraine.
The 38 sq-m space is divided into a waiting room, two paediatric areas and a sanitary section – with the small size, parents and patients can enjoy a calm atmosphere, privacy and an absence of long queues. Children can get distracted with bold colour-blocked walls in shades of cobalt, salmon and aquamarine; blonde wood panelling, white floors and pattern play introduce even stronger contrast.
According to one of the mums, her child did not understand at all that he was visiting the doctor
Yet, with all the saturation, Doctor U. doesn’t default to a cartoonish aesthetic – that stays on the televisions. Medical equipment is hidden in custom-made cabinetry and built-in furniture. Mushroom-shaped wooden fixtures are attached to wall panels and act as an in situ climbing wall. A single video sequence in all rooms helps incite children already watching a show to move from one space to the next – nothing to miss here, little folks.
‘The children and their parents reacted very positively,’ said Ivasiv. ‘Children don’t perceive the clinic as a medical facility and are much calmer as a result. According to one of the mums, her child did not understand at all that he was visiting the doctor.’ [Laughs]
Ivasiv and Tkachenko’s take on the doctor’s office is preventative, but not in the way you’d normally think for a medical space: it’s tantrum preventative. After all, distraction is literally built in to the space, no iPad or noisy toys needed: with that and quality health care, what more could a parent really want?
Location Dancheko Serhiya 16 Kiev