Founded in 1869 as the third pediatric hospital in the country, Children's Hospital has grown to become the nation's largest medical facility for children. As the dominant firm designing teaching hospitals around the Harvard Medical School campus, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge created a Classical Revival landmark focused on a domed central pavilion. The original building on Longwood Avenue incorporated administrative offices, admitting and examining rooms in the central section, the nurse's home in the south wing, and the outpatient department in the north wing. Behind this five-story limestone mass stood four two-story wards and the surgical department connected by corridors; these units were all demolished for later additions to the hospital.
The new Children's Medical Center addition combines hospital, research laboratories, hotel, and food court in a dense aggregate of concrete—with a dash of pink granite and gridded glass—set behind a semi-circular court and arcaded entrance. Aspects of an airport's complex circulation converge with elements of a children's camp, as the interior reception lobby area caters to the play instinct of its young clients, giving no hint of the building's actual function. Across Longwood Avenue, Tsoi/Kobus designed the Karp Family Research Laboratories (2004, 1 Blackfan Street), a new twelve-story research building with spaces to support the clinical and research work of the hospital, a conference facility, and a below-ground parking garage.