BAMO’s portfolio spans the globe, but it’s our latest local project for The Ronald McDonald House at Stanford (RMH-S) that has our creative and philanthropic juices flowing. Joining forces with the San Francisco Design Center and Bay Area colleagues, BAMO dedicated full design services to complete the Lobby, Great Room, and Kid’s Great Room for RMH-S’s expansion.
The Ronald McDonald House at Stanford provides a home-away-from-home for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving treatment at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. The House is a cost effective lifeline, which allows families to stay together – eat, rest, sleep, and regroup – in a comforting, inclusive, and supportive environment. Today the home is forced to turn away 40-50 families each day due to lack of room availability. This expansion will allow all those in need to be served, increasing family rooms from 47 to 123, and making this the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world.
Given our work, BAMO understands the restorative role that environments can play. As the first opportunity to welcome families from all walks of life, we’ve designed our spaces as a place of comfort, inclusiveness, and support… a home away from home.
Sense of place is very important in our work, and that was reflected at RMH-S. Our design reflects the casual, indoor-outdoor lifestyle of California, as inspired by the ranch homes of Cliff May: modernism with a nod to California’s Spanish colonial past. And given the sensitive nature of the project, all spaces were designed to be welcoming and non-institutional in feeling.
The Entry Lobby is conceived as a courtyard that serves as a gathering place, where visitors are welcome and resident families can feel a sense of community. In our first visit to the existing House, we fell in love with the majestic California Live Oak on the property that provides a shady place for residents to sit and relax. And so the centerpiece of our courtyard lobby is a “Tree of Hope” sculpture that recalls this tree and is a symbol of the families that have come together in the shelter of RMHS. Rising into the ceiling, it can be hung with prayers and wishes written by families on little slips of paper, and decorated to celebrate the seasons. A round bench underneath provides lobby seating. Beyond the sculpture, we incorporated structural columns into our design to create a kind of porch that faces the courtyard lobby, where there is additional casual seating for the lobby area. The right side of the lobby is framed by a friendly reception counter made of thick slabs of solid, live-edge elm, and an informational video corner. On the left, a donor wall honors those who have given.
Through the porch lies the Adults’ Great Room. As the main un-programmed lounge space at RMHS, the two-story Adults’ Great Room is conceived as a quiet, comfortable living room with lots of natural daylight, comfortable furniture and open views through giant windows to the greenery outside. It provides a restful haven for adults to read, chat or enjoy a cozy fire, all within view of the adjacent Kids’ Great Room.
Kids’ get their own Great Room, too. Subtly zoned for different age groups, this lounge space gives young people an opportunity to do their own thing in a safe environment: play with toys, read, watch TV or use a tablet device. Furnishings are kid-friendly and fun, such as playful bean bags and a custom-designed, stepped bookshelf unit kids can climb onto.