Two hospital gardens in Portland, Oregon, win awards for therapeutic
By Clare Cooper Marcus
Designing a garden for a children’s hospital can be a particular
challenge. If it is going to function well for the variety of people
who may seek to use it, the garden needs to be all of the following:
- a green oasis for burnt-out staff,
- a sanctuary for worried or grieving parents,
- an engaging environment for hospitalized children,
- a stimulating setting for the well siblings of an inpatient,
- a stress-reducing milieu for an outpatient child brought in
for tests or frightening procedures.
The configuration of
the Healing Garden includes richly planted, raised concrete
planter; curving pathways; groundlevel planting; and a small
plaza with garden benches.
Healing Havens: Photo by John Hughel
The Children’s Garden at Legacy Emanuel Children’s
Hospital in Portland, Oregon—although at first glance appearing
to be “nothing special”—subtly fulfills the needs
of all these potential garden users. As a result the garden, open
24 hours a day, receives use by adult as well as child patients,
and by all who use or visit the hospital.
In 1997, Legacy Health System hired Portland architects Mic and
Connie Johnson to remodel and coordinate the pediatric facilities
in the hospital and to create a new corridor linking the main hospital
foyer to elevators accessing pediatric check-in on an upper floor.
Visible through the windows of the new corridor was an unkempt courtyard
with a soggy patch of lawn. The CEO of Legacy Health System, John
G. King, was moving the hospital toward more patient-centered care;
creating a new garden in the courtyard fit in with this goal.
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