Throughout history, gardens have been used to help in the healing process. From the meditative Japanese Zen Garden to the Monastic Cloister garden, nature has proven to have certain biophilic benefits. With the onset of modern architectural advances in health care campuses in the 20th century, the use of gardens as healing elements began to diminish. Today, hospital healing gardens are beginning to be re-imagined and incorporated as vital elements to health care design. A recent interest in complementary and alternative therapies, which emphasize healing the whole person — mind, body, and spirit — rather than simply alleviating symptoms, is one of the main reasons why the interest in garden as healer has been revived.
Challenging sites considerations can also present healing garden opportunities as was the case with Holy Cross Hospital. A narrow sliver of space separated the front facade of the hospital with the two story, partially submerged parking structure. Unfortunately, the parking structure served as the true front door of the hospital. The landscape architects presented with this design challenge utilized the narrow space to provide users with intimate settings, a water element for noise abatement, wildlife habitat, vertical elements and naturalistic plantings. The buffer between architecture and functional space is greatly enhanced and on a pleasant day the gardens usage is evident.
greenscreen® panels are utilized as vertical elements to help define intimate spaces and to provide additional vertical, vegetative coverage to help redirect views downward. Climbing roses and varieties of clematis provide seasonal blooming interest and the rose hips will provide a food source for wildlife. The healing garden is visible from floor to ceiling glazing on a first floor hallway and the planting plan featuring trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennials will provide interest throughout the entire year. The design flexibility of greenscreen® allows for a variety of applications that can provide solutions for the challenges found in small scale healing gardens.
Site: 450 bed health care facility, Completed 2010
Silver Spring, Maryland
640 s.f greenscreen®
Landscape Architect: OCULUS
Installation Contractor: Chapel Valley Landscape Co.