Crown Sky Garden

The Crown Sky Garden includes light, sound, water and wood elements. Eco-friendly bamboo planters divide the space to allow for active use as well as a more quiet respite. The highlight of its design is a translucent interactive light wall that weaves throughout the garden at different heights and changes color and brightness as people approach it. These interactive aspects allow children to define the garden. 

The carved wooden benches are crafted from trees planted prior to the Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and are the gift of John Bryan. 

Creating the Crown Sky Garden was a complex, multidisciplinary process that brought together the best minds in design and patient care with children and families who had direct patient experience. 

It began with an international search for a landscape designer to lead the process. Once selected for the project, world-renowned landscape architect Mikyoung Kim worked closely with the Crown family, and Chicago civic leaders, philanthropists and volunteer project leaders Maria Smithburg and John Bryan for several years to create the extraordinary Crown Sky Garden. She also engaged the hospital’s patient care leadership, design and construction team, Kids' Advisory Board and Family Advisory Board in the process.

The visuals below explain the benefits of specific design elements (click to enlarge the images). 

A Sense of Being Away Promotes Cognitive Restoration

Cognitive Restoration is Speedy in Sensory Rich Environments

How the Crown Sky Garden Helps Reduce Stress

Visitor Testimonials

“Jadelyn just loves the Sky Garden. In fact, the last time we were at the hospital she didn’t want to leave it when it was time for her appointment. She and her dad disappeared for half an hour, and I finally found them playing on the log benches together!” – Janel Pang, whose 7-year-old daughter, Jadelyn, had surgery in January 2013 for a liver disorder. The family travels to Chicago from their home in Hawaii several times a year for follow-ups.

“The day after Lurie Children’s opened, I visited the Crown Sky Garden at about 7 o'clock in the evening.  I saw a family seated on the wooden benches near the windows – a patient, a mother and a father huddled around a jigsaw puzzle and their dinner, and it looked just like a beautiful family setting in a park. To me that captured the success of what the Crown family set out to do.” – Bruce Komiske, Chief of New Hospital Design and Construction

“It's a soaring, light-filled healing garden, sure to relieve hospital-induced claustrophobia with its expansive views. Framed by curving fiberglass walls, filled with stones and further enlivened by live bamboo trees, the garden itself, by Boston landscape architect Mikyoung Kim, brings color and nature to the space.” - Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune architecture critic

“I work in an office that is near a window-filled corridor one-story above the Crown Sky Garden. Simply looking down from those windows into the park-like space below gives me a moment of quiet during a hectic workday. Also, it always brings a smile to my face to see the kids sitting in the child-sized chairs and jumping and running around.” – Cindy, Lurie Children's Office Manager

In The News


The Crown Family: A Legacy of Healing

Since 1965, the Crown Family has generously supported Lurie Children's, formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital, with their time, talent and resources. Lester Crown is the longest-serving member on the hospital’s Board of Directors, and both he and Renee Crown serve as important ambassadors for Lurie Children’s through their advocacy and friendship. The Crowns’ extraordinary leadership and generosity have been passed on to their children, including daughter-in-law Paula Crown, who took a leadership role in the development of the Crown Sky Garden, which bears the family’s name.

Get more information on the Crown Sky Garden and ways to get involved below: