Brigham and Women's Hospital


Brigham and Women's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Boston, Massachusetts

34,000 GSF

Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture


The NICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is the largest in Massachusetts, caring for approximately 3600 infants annually. The design team worked with BWH to apply research on the neurological development of newborns to the design of the expansion and renovation of the existing outdated open bay NICU.

During the planning process of converting the 25-year-old open bay ward to the current standard of care: Single Family Rooms (SFR), Dr. Terry Inder, newly appointed chair of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, challenged the design team to re-conceptualize the planning for the NICU. The result was the development of 3 Growth and Development Rooms for 6 babies each, for a total of 18 babies, in addition to 28 Single-Family Rooms and 9 Single Family Twin Rooms. The addition of the Growth and Development rooms provides the option of placing babies and their families in the most appropriate environment to support their neurological development.

The entire NICU is located on the 6th floor of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health building on the main hospital campus. The project includes a complex 15,000 square foot expansion over the Hospital’s Labor and Delivery floor, as well as the full renovation of the existing 19,000 sf sixth floor. Hospital functions in labor and birth, as well as in the NICU, remained open throughout the three-phase, three-year construction process. The project requires careful coordination of multiple disciplines to reinforce the existing structure and to provide the infrastructure needed to support the NICU.

All rooms are laid out with three zones to accommodate staff, patient and family. The design enhances opportunities for teaching of residents and provide a family support area for learning and socializing. The building exterior is made of metal panels in a rain-screen system to blend with the existing Connors building. A green roof enhances patient room views on the hospital’s upper floors while an exterior terrace gives family members and staff access to the outdoors.