The Rotterdam Eye Hospital 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 architects, concentrates all children’s facilities on one location, and provides a spatial expression to the hospital’s vision on ophthalmic care for children.


Anxiety prevention is a cornerstone in the work of the Eye Hospital and an important objective for the design of the Children’s Eye Centre. A warm and friendly atmosphere and emphasis on 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 , fit for all types of examinations, children stay in one (familiar) space during the whole examination process.


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 up roof lights, daylight 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 a sense of space. After being adapted to meet contemporary fire regulations, the original roof lights are opened up. 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. On the back side of the eye test screens in the examination rooms, aquarelles of animals are placed. Directing the attention of the child into the room, they soften the transition from waiting to examination.




Children’s Eye Centre




Programme: policlinic

Size: 1200m2

Location: Rotterdam, NL

Client: The Rotterdam Eye Hospital

Contractor: Maasbouw

Photography: René de Wit