The Children's Inn at NIH

Children's Playground

Poltronieri Tang & Associates has designed, in association with landscape architects Mahan Rykiel, a refurbished Children’s Playground on the grounds of the Children’s Inn at NIH.  The Inn itself is co-located on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. 


The playground is one component of The Inn’s larger outdoor play area and park, and a key part of the ongoing Children’s Park INNitiative site development program.  The former playground was worn and underutilized because it was too remote physically and visually from the Inn’s interior activities spaces, and there was no easy and convenient direct access from the building.  The new design remedied these shortcomings by lowering the playground level elevation five feet and sculpting the contours so direct line of sight visualization was established to the Inn’s lobby and second floor playroom.  In addition an ADA compliant outdoor deck and ramp provides direct and ready access to the playground from the playroom. 

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In the lively atmosphere of the Inn, kids and their families can put side the daunting clinical challenges they face and just be kids for a while.  The overriding philosophy at the Children’s Inn is that families make a difference in the lives, care, and treatment of their sick children.  Since its founding the Inn has been a temporary “home away from home” to over 10,000 seriously ill children and their families.

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The newly restored play area has many new venues and colorful attractions for kids, including “Benjamin¹s Tree House”, a tiered amphitheater and plaza, swings and slides, music-making site amenities, a putting green, walking trails, site lighting, enhanced landscaping, a "bird nest" gazebo and ample outdoor seating.  The play equipment areas are also shielded by overhead tensile shading canopy structures.

PT&A has also provided the overall site development master plan for the Inn’s surrounding grounds.

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NIH is the world’s premier biomedical research facility where children and families travel from around the world for state-of-the-art treatment because more conventional treatments have failed to have an impact on the course of their illness.  Children receiving intensive cutting-edge treatment for illnesses such as cancer, heart, lung, blood-born and growth disorders, mental illness, and HIV infections can stay close by at the Inn. 


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Poltronieri Tang & Associates
Pediatric Healthcare Planning and Design

206 Park Avenue | Swarthmore, PA 19081 | Tel  215.300.3618