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Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, FKP Architects

Shared By

Sara Johnson


Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


  • Cesar Pelli, FAIA; Fred Clarke, FAIA (senior design principals)
  • Mark Shoemaker, AIA (principal in charge)
  • Christopher Koon, AIA (project manager)


  • FKP Architects

Project Status


Year Completed



700,000 sq. feet
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Project Description


PCPA’s design of Buerger Center is a dynamic addition to CHOP’s main campus in West Philadelphia. Composed of stacked, undulating forms and a palette of primary colors, the twelve-story building and six-story wing offer young children and families an uplifting, interactive setting for treatment. Easy-to-navigate floors, colorful pods with “Wait, Play, Learn” displays for fun engagement, and a roof top garden for rehabilitation and play are features that help reduce the stress typically associated with hospitals. The three-acre landscaped plaza provides open space for safe recreation, family gatherings and small pockets for private reflection; medicinal gardens have been planted for therapeutic use. Below the plaza is a five-level underground parking garage.

The lobby is spacious and light-filled with a dramatic, curved ramp that invites children to zigzag their way up three levels and observe the activity below. The accessible ramp connects to a bridge linking to the North Campus across the street. The main wing is rectangular on one side to accommodate clinical “neighborhoods of care” and curvilinear on the other side to create playful lobbies. The six-story wing accommodates a rehabilitation gym on the third floor and the roof-top garden on the top floor. An elliptical glass elevator orients patients and families directly to lively “welcome” centers on each clinical floor. 

The same bright colors that energize the exterior curtain wall are used to accentuate the interior corridors, waiting rooms, patient rooms, and garage levels. They are also navigational, identifying each floor of care. Large scale graphics of children in motion enliven the public spaces, serving as visual encouragement and positive reinforcement.

This is the first phase of the Buerger Center. Phase 2 will expand the center to 16 levels. The building is adaptable for changes in health care delivery and can be converted for office, research, or inpatient uses.
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