Introducing Awestruck Biophilic Design - bringing the outdoors indoors through the exploration of wellbeing

The Benefits of Healing Gardens and Biophilic Design in Healthcare

steel grove, South Korea photography:Sergio pirrone, designed by Architect Practice ar-architects

 

Cities and urban spaces are losing green space which is leading to the extinction of nature’s experiences for urban communities. The loss of green space can trigger an increasing down effect where people’s expectation of nature continually decreases over time. By having the loss of everyday nature experiences, this may lead to society having a reduced knowledge and appreciation of biodiversity and the environment. 
OCELLETS PARK Designed by Battle | Roig Arquitectes
OCELLETS PARK Designed by Battle | Roig Arquitectes

Although, gardens throughout history have been used to help with the healing process. A Monastic garden was used for multiple purposes, such as fruit, vegetables and herbs or even growing medicinal plants as a way to help with respite for patients. The Japanese Zen garden is another great example, especially being so simple and the natural elements create a tranquil sanctuary for viewing, which would be amazing for anyone’s health to look at! Although as society has grown and progressed, sadly the importance of nature within the healing process has decreased.

 

Monastic Garden Photos- House and Garden 1972

Monastic Garden Photos- House and Garden 1972

Japanese Zen Garden Image Credit - DIY HOME

Japanese Zen Garden Image Credit - DIY HOME

Roger Ulrich has revealed revolutionary research that has brought the benefits of nature back into the healthcare conversation. Ulrich’s research showed how surgical patients with views of nature have fewer negative comments from nurses, shorter post-operative stays, took less pain relief and experienced fewer post – operative complications than those patients with an urban view.

Otay Mountain can be seen from many of the patient rooms in the new Ocean View Tower at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.(Howard Lipin / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

 

This research has led to the development of the movement EBD – Evidence Based Design, which emphasises measurable evidence to influence healthcare design. The use of evidence-based design occupants can improve the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of patients as well as the quality of the clinical care, operational effiency, which transforms not only to wellness benefits for the patients, visitor’s, family and staff but also the economic side of things.

 

“Places of respite are a quality of life issue that has proven economic benefits to its users, including improved staff longevity and reduced staff turnover”.  Waxman et.al,1994

Nationwide Children's Hospital • Columbus, Ohio • FKP Architects & RAA Image Credit  - Feinknopf

Nationwide Children's Hospital • Columbus, Ohio • FKP Architects & RAA Image Credit  - Feinknopf

Healing Gardens

Healing gardens are established in the principles of E.O Wilson’s Biophilic Hypothesisfrom his work Biophilia (1984) which suggest humans hold an innate tendency to seek connection with nature and other natural forms of life. Whilst understanding the connections between nature and the community, we can design spaces that help hospitals, patients and visitors to connect with the stress reducing and healing aspects of nature, leading to better staff retention, patient outcomes and less risk.

Image Credit - Garden Design , landscape designer Claire Jones

Image Credit - Garden Design , landscape designer Claire Jones 

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus, Ohio, Architects: FKP Architects Interiors: Ralph Appelbaum & Associates

Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus, Ohio, Architects: FKP Architects Interiors: Ralph Appelbaum & Associates

In 2012, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus Ohio, started to implement Biophilic design into their hospital. They did this by transforming the 4 acres site into a children’s garden that was made up of lawn, fragrance maze, a moonlight garden, a running lawn, an interactive play area, entry bosque and a storyteller’s garden. The key elements focus on the most important part of a healing garden which is the vegetation. The flowers, trees and shrubbery perform a role beyond just beautifying the landscape but engaging our senses and the exploring the colours, textures, scents and sounds of nature to enhance the patient experience. These humbling natural elements offer celebration in the times of recovery and guidance in times of turbulence.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus, Ohio, Architects: FKP Architects Interiors: Ralph Appelbaum & Associates

Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus, Ohio, Architects: FKP Architects Interiors: Ralph Appelbaum & Associates

In Stephen Kellert’s book – Birthright– people and nature in the modern world, he acknowledges how human health and wellbeing is linked to nature and stating that our increasing disconnection with the natural world affects our ability to feel, think, create and communicate. A great example for this would be of the Spirit of Women Park at Wexner Medical Centre, where they help ease the disconnection through integrating quiet spaces for peaceful thoughts can take place; although the healing doesn’t just happen outside. The design concept of this wellness campus is employing biophilic design to create building interiors with strong connections to nature through integrated outdoor spaces and daylighting that provides room for privacy, socialisation and therapeutic activity.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Columbus, Ohio Image Credit MKSK Landscape Architecture

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Columbus, Ohio Image Credit MKSK Landscape Architecture

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Columbus, Ohio Image Credit MKSK Landscape Architecture

 In conclusion as we explore new ways of improving healthcare through the use of Biophilia, healing gardens and evidence based design we are reconnecting to nature in a way that is unique to humans  and engrained in us that we are not only connected to nature but we are part of it ! Having discovered so many benefits of healing gardens, the healthcare system represents more than just normal medical treatment but also allows us to continue to develop as humans connect and build places for communities.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Image credit  Andy Sturgeon Design

Great Ormond Street Hospital Image credit  Andy Sturgeon Design 

To find out more on how Biophilic design can impact our health, work and home life sign up to our Biophilic Medical Summit on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 at 7 pm BST.

Click on link below to sign up 

Biophilic Medical Summit Wednesday 2nd September 2020 7pm BST

Biophilic Medical Summit Wednesday 2nd September 2020 7pm BST