The five story atrium prior to redesign.

Sketch by Lead Artist Amy Trachtenberg

All five floors of the building look into the atrium

The handmade fabric leaves.

Undulating stair/bench/stage.

Fabricating in Amy's studio

Building the serpentine bench.

Evening

Oakland, California  2003

Something dramatic needed to happen to transform Children’s Hospital’s entrance and lobby, its most prominent public space, which was stark, white and largely empty. Our goal was to ensure that the five-story, one block long atrium would become an environment that would be dynamic, friendly, and comforting.

The design team brought out the latent potential of the grand atrium and transformed it into an environment rich in associations, color, and feeling. Though it was not possible to use live plants, the team created a kind of natural world – a metaphorical wooded shoreline, abundant with animal life.

During the day, patients, their families and hospital staff have a chance to relax, eat, and reflect in a “forested” atmosphere of restoration and beauty. The atrium, now furnished with a new café, is a favorite place to hold events and parties, especially in the evening when the scene is dramatically lit.

Trachtenberg Architects: David Trachtenberg, Alexandra Vondeling
Lead Artist:  Amy Trachtenberg
Contributing Artist:  Augusta Talbot
Landscape Architect: Miller Company Landscape Architecture and Construction, Jeffrey Miller
Fabrication and Installation of trees: Miller Company
Fabric leaves and kites: Dancing Frog Design, Bob Harris, and Jennifer Synder
Structural Engineer: Ingraham DeJesse Associates
Builder: Anderson Construction
Rigging:  Pickle Family Circus
Lighting Design: Architecture and Light, Darrell Hawthorne
Cutsheet for this project