Nationwide Children’s Hospital Rooftop Playdeck

Location: Columbus, OH

Year: 2021

Photographer: Elevar

The playdeck at Nationwide Children’s Hospital T Building Lower Roof is used by patients in occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, infusion, and therapeutic recovery. Young children and their families typically use this space to accomplish the therapeutic goals of the patients. The playdeck helps patient transformation from a therapeutic environment out into the community and provides a space for parents to learn/re-learn to interact with children in a play setting. The outdoor playdeck, nestled on the lower roof of the T Building and accessible from the A Building, was originally crafted in 1987, covering approximately 5,000 square feet. Beneath its surface lies a membrane roofing system, likely coated in the past, while the neighboring area sports a modified bitumen system.

The playdeck’s current surface comprises rubber playground tiles with built-in impact pedestals, but years of wear and tear have left them discolored, deteriorated, and shrunken, posing usability and safety concerns. The initial construction of the playdeck featured an array of elements, including fabric-topped pergolas, a play structure, pole-mounted lighting, fiberglass planters and benches, a perimeter fence, and raised curbing. Many of these components are affixed to the structure below and linked to roof curbs protruding above the play surface. Despite occasional maintenance and minor adjustments over time, the playdeck is now nearing the end of its useful life. Adjacent spaces serve clinical, occupational therapy/physical therapy, and mixed-use purposes, remaining active and integral to future operations.

The new playdeck provides a playful environment that can be enjoyed through three seasons and well into the evening hours with the addition of lights hanging from the tensile fabric shade structure. The playground is equipment is ADA accessible and has been carefully selected to provide a range of learning and physical exercise capabilities for the myriad of personalities of children that use the playdeck in the coming years.



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