You are here: Commercial Flooring > Planning & Design > Case Studies


Case Studies - Environmental

Download Phoenix Children’s Hospital Brochure

A Welcoming Oasis in the Desert Uses Armstrong Flooring for Color-Coordinated Wayfinding

The goals for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s new addition were threefold: improve upon the existing hospital design, create a new campus image that was bold and unique, and improve the current wayfinding. Members of the design team at HKS Inc., Dallas, Texas, considered wayfinding their most difficult challenge because they wanted to create something that was childlike but not childish. It had to be as comfortable and fun for a 3 year-old girl to navigate as it was for a 19 year-old boy. They solved the problem by giving each floor its own identity and personality. Armstrong MARMORETTE™ linoleum, MEDINTECH® homogeneous sheet and MIGRATIONS® BBT® bio-flooring helped designers accomplish their objective for creating wayfinding suitable for children of all ages.

Need Help? Look for the Purple Flower

Every color, finish, piece of artwork and material in the hospital’s new, 775,000 square foot, 12-story, free-standing tower is designed to create a welcoming oasis in the desert, providing shade and healing while emulating the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and desert. But it’s easy to get lost in the desert, let alone a huge hospital. People help orient themselves in physical spaces and navigate from place to place by remembering visual clues. “That’s why we decided to give each floor and clinic its own, distinctive color palette, landmark desert animal and desert botanical, in addition to floor level numbers and views to the outside,” says Iris Dates, Vice President of Interior Design at HKS. She explains, “Each level and area in the facility has its own major color and three minor colors. For example, the ICU’s main color is purple and everything about it follows that color scheme. Stressed parents and patients wayfind by remembering or being directed to the purple floor with the jackrabbit sculpture or the room across from the large purple flower.”

All the Right Colors and Performance

The hospital already had six color standards, and this new tower added two additional standards to the mix. Fortunately, the flagship linoleum product line from Armstrong, MARMORETTE™, had the breadth of color needed, which made the designer’s job a lot easier. “Armstrong had the exact color palette, in fact, it was perfect. The hospital also wanted low maintenance floors with heat-welded seams for easy maintenance, and they wanted to use sustainable flooring. MARMORETTE easily met all the requirements,” says Dates. MARMORETTE linoleum is part of CONTINUUM™, the color and design system from Armstrong that uses a simple, organized tonal step system and cross connected colors with different product types to help optimize color selections across the entire portfolio of Armstrong commercial flooring products. MARMORETTE is made from rapidly renewable, natural materials and is protected by the exclusive NATURCote™ UV-cured, superior performance coating from Armstrong.

The design team specified Armstrong MEDINTECH® for procedure rooms because the building code mandated a homogeneous product. “MEDINTECH is a standard for us when we need a solid vinyl floor, like Old Faithful, and it came in the color we needed with no deviation from the hospital’s color standards,” says Dunn. MEDINTECH is a proven industry performer with colors that coordinate with the entire portfolio of flooring solutions from Armstrong. The floor has superior durability with a UV-cured coating that provides a low-maintenance finish.

Both the “on stage” and “off stage” spaces were creatively crafted using the same, bright color palette to make the staff feel uplifted. Every area has a similar design feel but uses different materials to meet budget limitations. Finding budget friendly options within the broad portfolio of Armstrong floors is not a problem. Originally, the backroom areas were going to use VCT flooring for economic reasons, but the hospital administrators and the design team were attracted to Armstrong MIGRATIONS® BBT® bio-flooring for the product’s unique formulation and affordable price point. MIGRATIONS® BBT® bio-flooring contains BioStride® polymer made with rapidly renewable, U.S.-grown plant ingredients.

Armstrong ceilings and grid systems are also used throughout the project. Optima Open Plan®, Mesa™, Clean Room™ FL, TechZone™ and Prelude XL® 15/16˝ Exposed Tee System grid are used exclusively wherever acoustical performance is required.

Value Engineering

The design team did not overlook hospital flooring installation complexity and costs when they created their oasis in the desert. Dates says rather than creating designs that would require extensive cutting and heat welding, they worked with the floor roll width to stay within budget. She explains, “We took the hospital’s serpentine shape and MARMORETTE’s width into consideration in the value engineering phase of the project. We discovered a neat idea; we could run repeating horizontal bands of color across the entire building’s footprint. As the building curves, the linear bands of color intersect, creating a gorgeous, cost-effective design. Seen from overhead, the way this works on each level of the hospital is quite magical.” Dunn says everyone is delighted with the results.

The Armstrong collection of high performance products meet the most rigorous challenges in healthcare environments today. Armstrong has a broad range of products to meet all types of space requirements, from beautiful colors that follow hospital standards, to aseptic applications in operating rooms, to budget friendly environmental products, Armstrong is the one stop solution.


Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Phoenix, Arizona
HKS, Inc..

Parchment Beige


Cocoa Brown

Cherry Red

Blast Off


Parrot Green

Blue Spa

Delft Blue

Purple People

Amped Up

MIGRATIONS® BBT® bio-flooring

Quartz White

Golden Sands

Red Berry

Orange Peel

Lemon Squeeze

Green Grass

Blue Waters

Violet Grape
Get new product alerts:
Please help us expand this feature by telling us your role.
      No Thanks