Children’s Eye Centre

The Rotterdam Eye Hospital is specialized in high end ophthalmology, and receives approximately 140.000 patients, among which 20.000 are children, on a yearly basis. To date, these children were treated in the different departments of the hospital. The new Children’s Eye Centre, designed by eklund terbeek, concentrates all children’s facilities on one location, and provides a spatial expression to the hospital’s vision on ophthalmic care for children. The realization of the Children’s Eye Centre is the first phase of a larger renovation and reorganization of the ground floor of the building by A.J. van der Steur from the 1950ies.The Eye Hospital is known for its philosophy on care based on anxiety prevention.


An important starting point for the design of the Children’s Eye Centre is to realize a spatial environment which contributes to reducing anxiety. A warm and friendly atmosphere that emphasizes the professionalism of the hospital encourages trust and helps to calm the child and to optimize the treatment. Spatial openness and a clear orientation is strived for. By developing multifunctional treatment rooms which allow all examinations to occur in one single space, the spatial steps in the care program are reduced to a minimum. The Children’s Eye Centre has no corridors and its spaces are visually connected. All examination rooms are organized around one central reception and waiting area, to create a clear and recognizable place for children and their parents. This space has a round and friendly shape, and columns are kept out of sight where possible. By situating the waiting area at the facade and by opening the roof lights, natural light is brought inside and the feeling of spatiality and orientation is increased. The examination rooms are as transparent as possible, letting the children peak in before the consultation starts. In the waiting area a variety of places, tailored to the needs of the different age groups, are created.


For the materialization and detailing of the interior, a calm basis of white, light grey and warm oak is chosen. Clear hues of blue and green, varying from light to dark, are added on the walls of the examination room and the furniture to accentuate certain places. The square glass fronts are minimally detailed to optimize the feeling of transparency and smaller openings and recessed surfaces create through views and spaciousness. The roof lights are opened, anew meeting contemporary fire safety regulations. To make sure the light is not too bright, light blue discs with round openings are hung in the roof lights. These “eyes” filter the daylight and create a play of light and colour that changes during the day. Eye tests printed directly on the walls form a graphic element in the examination rooms. Art is an important part of the spatial experience in the Eye Hospital. For the Children’s Centre, various artists have made images and objects based on the theme looking and seeing. Behind the glass fronts of the examination rooms, aquarelles of animals are placed. These are, as it were, inside the examination rooms, the attention of the child is pulled inside and the transition from waiting to examination is softened.


completion year: 2012 I size: 1200m2 I location: Rotterdam I client: The Rotterdam Eyehospital I contractor: Maasbouw Ridderkerk I contractor furniture: SV-DeJager I  Installations: Van Dorp Installaties Rotterdam  I art advisor: Ineke van Ginneke I artists: Rob van Mierlo, Bert-Jan Pot, Anuli Croon I photography: Rene de Wit