Los Angeles-based AHBE Landscape Architects have created an innovative new environment for Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre to promote healing, health and well-being in the heart of the city.
Cedars-Sinai is one of the largest non-profit academic medical centres in the United States and is known for its national leadership in transforming healthcare for the benefit of patients. The impressive, newly created Healing Gardens at this hospital in Los Angeles are a transformation of terraces that had previously been unused for many years.
AHBE Landscape Architects used some innovative thinking to convert the concrete plaza on top of a multi-level car park into a restorative outdoor area for patients, hospital staff, and visiting families and friends. Using the metaphor of human skin, AHBE “aimed to heal the epidermis of the complex by grafting a piece of living, breathing landscape above the existing parking decks.” The multi-layered landscape solution protects the existing building’s structural and mechanical integrity and takes into account the prevailing drainage system, emergency access, lighting and way finding, as well as extreme weather conditions.
The result is a unique, green roof-inspired system built onto the plaza’s existing structure. The designers maximised the landscape by further redefining it into four distinct gardens:
- Garden of Whimsy. Intending to energize the human spirit, this garden features a sculptural pavilion by Ball Nogues Studio and undulating planters with illumination that creates a scenic night view from the patients’ rooms above.
- Blue Garden. A counterpoint to the Garden of Whimsy, this shady garden is about quiet, coolness and calm. Intended as a meditative place, it has closely positioned seating areas for private conversations or solitude. Small circular reflecting pools have custom “firefly” light fixtures that change colours to enhance an experience that replicates serenity in nature.
- Plaza Garden. A flexible courtyard space with moveable and convertible furniture for use as an outdoor café, for tented receptions, or for larger events. Planters here have textural foliage and large-scaled plants, such as agaves, supplemented with other succulents.
- Education Garden. Intended to illustrate how plants from Mediterranean climates can be adaptable to Southern California. The garden incorporates spaces for outdoor lectures, health fairs and informal meetings.
The hospital says that AHBE’s design for the outdoor plaza enhances their ability to provide quality patient care, and feedback they’ve received so far reflects their goal for this project – to create a place for healing, health and well-being. Judging by the photos, one would have to agree.