Sunnyhill Pediatric Clinic promotes play and positive distraction to ease children's stress

Sunnyhill Pediatric Clinic is a family-centered pediatric clinic that focuses on providing personalized, compassionate care tailored to each child's unique needs. Their qualified and caring staff engages both children and their parents/guardians in the healthcare process, ensuring they are well-informed and comfortable with treatment plans. The clinic offers a comprehensive range of services, from preventive care and immunizations to specialized treatments, all delivered in a child-friendly environment designed to reduce anxiety.

Going to the doctor can be a very stressful time for children and their parents. Through design, we were able to make that experience better. We designed a playful, uplifting environment for the social and psychological needs of children, while also building trust and conveying clearly to parents that their children are receiving high-quality medical care.

Team Spotlight

Lindsey Kot

Project Lead

Cristina Aristi

Project Designer

Project Start Date: July 2023

Project Completion Date: April 1 2024

Square Footage: +/- 5000 sq ft

The Challenge

Balancing Aesthetics and Functionality: The client requested a space that is bright, airy, colourful, and playful, yet remains highly functional and meets the medical needs of the clinic. This includes selecting materials that are both durable and easy to clean, and designing layouts that facilitate smooth patient flow and efficient staff operations.

Addressing Diverse Age Groups: We needed to cater to a wide age range, from infants to teenagers, each with different needs and preferences, while also accommodating parents. This requires thoughtful planning to include appropriate furniture, activities, and decor that appeal to and are safe for various age groups.

Ensuring Safety and Compliance: Incorporating stringent safety measures and adhering to healthcare regulations, such as infection control standards, accessibility requirements, and emergency protocols. We needed to ensure that BF standards were maintained to code while still creating a visually pleasant and comfortable waiting area that doesn't feel clinical.

The Solution

Going to the doctor can be a very stressful time for children. Our design incorporates different patterns on the floors, walls, millwork, and ceiling, encouraging play and positive distraction no matter where children look. We added unique Muuto coat hooks at various heights in the reception area, allowing easy access to children's coats. Minimal cartoon-style signage was included for younger children to aid in wayfinding. The main corridor features an open ceiling with Kirei acoustic clouds, adding to the imaginative design while effectively absorbing excess noise and reducing echoes.

We embraced an organic and calming design language by incorporating curved and flowing surfaces, including archways, arched doors, and organic carpet inserts into the flooring. We also used pastel colours and avoided stark white or stainless-steel materials, which can feel cold and intimidating.

To ensure functionality, we used durable materials such as laminate and metal for millwork, and LVT flooring throughout. The client's previous space faced challenges with cleaning wall surfaces and maintaining counters, leading to issues like chipped drywall. To mitigate this, we prepared all walls with durable, marker-friendly wallcoverings and installed plenty of corner guards to protect against dents from strollers and general use. We also ensured that the visual and tactile textures remained soft and smooth.

The Human-Centred Lens

This healthcare design prioritizes the well-being and comfort of its young patients and their families at every touchpoint. From the moment they enter, the clinic is inviting and reassuring, with warm, child-friendly aesthetics and calming colours that help alleviate anxiety. The layout is intuitively organized, featuring clear signage and easy-to-navigate pathways that accommodate both children and caregivers. Interactive elements, such as playful signage and engaging waiting areas, are strategically incorporated to distract and entertain children, making their visit more enjoyable. Combined with their highly skilled, empathetic, and attentive staff, the design cultivates trust, reduces stress, and promotes positive health outcomes.

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Key Features

Calming Design Language

Embrace of organic and calming design features such as curved surfaces, archways, and organic carpet inserts, combined with a palette of soothing pastel colours to create a comforting atmosphere.


We installed acoustic clouds throughout the open ceiling areas for visual appeal and to minimize noise in corridors and exam rooms. We also added acoustic ceiling tiles for further sound reduction.


Use of durable materials such as laminate and metal for millwork, and LVT flooring throughout the clinic, ensuring longevity, ease of maintenance, and cleanliness.

Clear and Friendly

Functional layouts and clear pathways ensure ease of movement for staff, parents and caregivers. Minimal cartoon-style signage is strategically placed throughout the clinic to assist younger children in navigating the space easily. These playful signs not only aid in wayfinding but also contribute to a playful and uplifting atmosphere.


Project Credits

Landlord: University of Calgary Properties Group (UCPG)

Engineers: YJE Engineering: Electrical - Yazin Eskandar, Mechanical - Joseph Eskandar

Contractors: Soundtex Interiors Ltd - Tyler Goudie

Photographer: Joel Klassen