UVA Storytelling and Feature Walls - CODAworx

UVA Storytelling and Feature Walls

Submitted by Stanley Beaman & Sears

Client: UVA Health System

Location: Charlottesville, VA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Project Team


Betsy Beaman

Stanley Beaman & Sears


Carolyn Entzminger,

Odell Associates


This $141.5M facility is home to a full service Outpatient Surgery Center, serving adults and pediatric patients, as well as a consolidation of Children’s Hospital Specialty Clinics. This 200,000sf project merges exterior, interior, graphics, and landscape design for the care of children and adults. Challenged with bringing together dozens of clinics in a central location for improved patient care, the team focused on the story of the university campus and surrounding community. The timelessness of the Storytelling concept allowed for personalization for each patient family, and spoke to the greater community’s interest in learning and discovery.


To incorporate the mission of learning and discovery within the building, several feature walls were commissioned. The Design Team focused on the individual and their story, creating a bright and playful space for pediatric patients and their families to be at home in a high-tech environment. Light, both natural and electronic, was used to represent enlightenment, a theme central to the University’s history. Through this enlightenment a story is told, each as unique as the patients served.
The four 40’-long custom interactive “Storytelling Walls,” are each focused on different ideas that are important in the life of a child: Adventure, Discovery, Friendship and Imagination. Each wall showcases artwork from a different children’s book illustrator, as well as custom artwork developed by the Design Team.
A Discovery and Playspace wall on each level provides a safe and inviting environment for children and families to read, and a colorfully lit beacon from the exterior at night. The main lobby feature wall mimics this concept with backlit panels and provides a backdrop for the Design Team’s custom donor recognition artwork, celebrating children at play and those who have made positive outcomes in the facility possible.


The interactive Storytelling Walls are comprised of a series of 3-sided drums, each revealing a range of stories for children of to explore. The first layer of the wall presents a complete illustration. Upon further exploration, the different layers reveal even more stories, symbols, and languages – inviting children to use their natural curiosity to explore the richness inherent in stories, and perhaps create their own stories along the way.
The design for the wall is a custom fabrication that the Design Team conceived from start to finish, with very involved participation to develop the content from a dedicated user group from the Medical Center and the Hospital Education Program, which including administrators, clinicians, and educators, and with Gropen, the fabricators who helped refine construction details. The Design Team identified a passage from each of the 20 nominated children’s stories that exemplified the key theme, and then worked to receive usage rights from the publishers and authors, and to develop and design the associated artwork. Illustrators from the four primary art pieces collaborated with the team to ensure proper use and application of the artwork.

Additional Information

The Interior Design Team was responsible for the Programming, Medical Planning, Interior Architecture and Design, Donor Recognition, Wayfinding, and Special Feature Design. The team designed reception and nurse stations, waiting spaces for comfort and respite, staff areas for focused and complex work flows, a full service surgery center with central sterile processing support, an infusion center with USP 797 compliant pharmacy, and multifunctional pediatric clinics. In addition to the Interiors scope, the team also designed the custom Storytelling interactive walls and companion art installations within each patient care area, and a custom Donor Wall for the main public space.