With a personal drive to preserve and protect the wonder of childhood for all, I believe our designs should let kids just be kids.
Julia Jude, AIA is a Principal and Pediatric Practice Leader with Kahler Slater. She is deeply passionate about creating healthcare design solutions that embrace the resiliency, intelligence, playfulness, sophistication, and abilities of children. Julia collaborates with children’s hospitals across the country to develop innovative strategies that support advanced care models while making healthcare feel less intimidating.
I feel very fortunate to have a career in designing for pediatric healthcare because I get to work with passionate people and explore joyful design opportunities. All of the providers, staff, and administrators that work for children’s hospitals are incredibly compassionate and smart individuals. It is really rewarding to work alongside them and to be aligned on a common mission of protecting the most vulnerable and creating the best experience for our communities and kids. Having an aspiration that is larger than us and the project is especially helpful when we need to come together to solve tough challenges and work through project constraints.
I also love creating environments that bring joy to kids, families and care teams. Seeing a kid’s face light up from a design is truly the best!
Dayton Children’s Campus is one of my favorites because of all the magical moments that happen there. I will never forget seeing a pony in the corridor with a young girl jumping up and down with joy along with construction workers who were equally excited to pet the pony as the young girl. Both the Inpatient Tower and the Specialty Care Center have been influential in my career and shaped my thinking around creating a consumer centric pediatric healthcare experience.
Children’s Health of Orange County’s (CHOC) Southwest Tower in California is another wonderful project that is currently under construction. It was fun to re-imagine the future of outpatient care and create a center that supports specialty care collaboration, multidisciplinary care, and research integration while expressing CHOC’s “Long Live Childhood” mantra. The integrated team on this project (Owner, Project Manager, CM, and Design Team) was a pleasure to work with and I personally gained important leadership skills. The large project also provided opportunities for me to mentor others and see them grow in their confidence and careers, which brings me great rewards.