The Children's Hospital of San Antonio


San Antonio, TX

Exterior at night
Riverwalk donor wall
Pediatric corridor
Patient Room
Teaching Kitchen

Transformational design reinvents an adult and pediatric facility as a family-friendly children's hospital – the first in the region dedicated solely to pediatric care. From neonatal intensive care to state-of-the-art cancer treatments, Children's Hospital of San Antonio is specifically designed to meet children's needs.

A guardian angel for the community, Children's Hospital of San Antonio's exterior showcases Jesse Trevino's historic mural, "The Spirit of Healing," where an angel watches over a child and signals your arrival. The mural and playful exterior, re-clad in multicolored ceramic tile, work together with inviting landscapes that incorporate prayer and kitchen gardens to breathe new life into the renovated hospital.

In harmony with the mural, the "Spirit of the River" feature wall is reminiscent of San Antonio's River Walk, setting a tranquil mood and guiding visitors to a bright new lobby with gathering spaces surrounding a whirlpool-inspired chapel. Color-changing LEDs slowly drift from greens, blues, and purples, creating a "living, breathing river" that not only acts as wayfinding but celebrates CHRISTUS' missionary legacy.

Playful displays entertain children on their way to the Child Life Center, which features classrooms, teen lounges, and teaching kitchens. Here, kids might catch a ride in little red wagons to outpatient clinic appointments or snuggle up in reading nooks.

"On-stage" and "off-stage" circulation separates clinical care and public spaces to enhance security and operational efficiencies, reduce noise, and provide staff amenities. Every element works together to support Children's Hospital's values of dignity, integrity, excellence, compassion, and stewardship.

We were Architect of Record and Project Architect in association with Overland Partners of San Antonio.

Building Facts

  • 195 Beds
  • 8 Different Room Configurations
  • 400,000 GSF Modernization
  • 10,000 GSF New Construction
  • Master Planning, Design, Documentation, and Construction Administration
  • Child-Focused Care (neonatal – early adult), Hematology/Oncology, Surgical Suites, Rehabilitation Spaces, Women's Services

A River Runs through It

The design team's concept, “The Spirit of the River,” references San Antonio’s well-known River Walk and the missionary history of the Christus Health System. The colors of water playfully flow along the blue River Wall, a feature/donor wall made of plastic resin with an image of the contours of the San Antonio River behind it. Valleys and bends are CNC routed in each resinous fin, together forming a composition of a river cutting through the landscape of the first and second floors.

Blue Chapel with people at altar

Healing Embrace

The sculptural and expressive centerpiece of the new lobby is a chapel, whose representational form leaves interpretation up to the patients: hands folded in prayer; an angel's wings; or a swirling eddy of water. The chapel's halo of light, symbolizing enlightenment and hope, is visible throughout the lobby and from the balcony edge of the second floor. 

The Children's Hospital of San Antonio

Reinvented for Children

Living in your hospital while rebuilding it is one challenge. Transforming it from adult and pediatric care to a dedicated children’s hospital is another. See how we helped CHOSA accomplish both in Healthcare Design.

It was an art form: living in your hospital as you're rebuilding it.

Dr. Mark Gilger Pediatrician-in-Chief at CHOSA

Reclad to Rebrand

An inventive solution by Overland upgrades the façade, extending the interior brand experience through the addition of vertical, multi-colored glass fins – functional shades that mitigate the impact of direct sunlight on the interiors. The vibrant color palette of the fins emphasizes and is inspired by the building’s iconic nine-story mural, The Spirit of Healing, by San Antonio artist Jesse Trevino. The Architects Newspaper details the material and construction of the playful design in A First for Multi-colored Ceramic Channel Fritted Glass.