AECOM’s healing garden for Luther Midelfort – Mayo Health System

Architect Ellerbe Becket, a firm that works under the umbrella of Architecture/design/planning giant AECOM, designed a surreal  greenhouse style healing garden for the Luther Midelfort – Mayo Health System in Wisconson as part of an overall Critical Care Unit renovation. The details, from their website:

The Critical Care Unit includes 12 new beds for a total of 26 in 22,800 square feet (17,000 square feet of new construction and 5,800 square feet of renovation). Rooms in the expanded CCU are larger to accommodate family members who wish to be an active and involved part of the care process. The jewel of this project is the Healing Garden, an indoor garden with over 5,000 square feet of layers of green plantscape, filtered light and meandering paths.  The garden is located within the unit and can be accessed from other areas of the hospital. Several of the patient rooms have direct views into the garden. A meditation room within the Critical Care Unit is directly connected to a meditation area within the garden.

It’s quite a strange healing garden scheme, soaked in a  sort of Alice in Wonderlandy pastiche effect wherein nothing at all seems very natural about the space. With its strange rock tower fountain, mysterious baby grand piano, pale poured concrete floors, and dramatic spotlighting it’s hardly a space one might happen upon anywhere outside of corporate America. Nevertheless, it seems an effective, comforting centerpiece for the unit, that provides a whimsical multi-season alternative to a traditional lobby. Perhaps it will age with time to seem a bit more authentic? Until then, just look how downright lovely the tree shadow in the above photograph of a patient room is.

To gather additional information from advocates of Healing Gardens, you can visit the Therapeutic Landscapes Network website.

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