The significance of the new awards program lies in its focus on therapeutic landscapes and its sponsorship by The Center for Health Design, the leading voice in the healthcare design industry for architects, interior designers, and hospital administrators. These awards represent an important step toward the more integrated design of healthcare environments. Never before have landscape architects had the opportunity to be recognized specifically for their accomplishments in healthcare design.
I’d like to encourage everyone who has built work in this niche market of our profession to submit your projects and to showcase the great work that we do. If you believe that your work makes a meaningful difference in this industry, then please demonstrate that and share your best projects. We will all benefit from your success.
Entry forms are due September 20, and information on how to enter can be found on Healthcare Design’s website.
Making the connection between health and nature would seem to be an obvious one, especially when we consider the emerging research on measuring health outcomes in nature or when simply viewing any variety of nature’s wonders. And it would seem that our work as landscape architects in this field should be a no-brainer – particularly in healthcare design, right?
But there are other functions that enter into this transitioning equation which impact and influence how we bring nature into a sterile built environment. Global issues like sustainability, aesthetics, social and cultural factors, or more specific issues like infection control. How do we blend these synergies of influence from such disparate fields in ways that will help us to design positive interventions that will simply help people get through their good days and their bad?
The answers seem to be coming not only from the design studios but from a collection of sources and resources, like a broad ‘band of brothers’, focusing on human connections and place making. Researchers, social scientists, strategic planners, landscape architects – like Angela Loder, University of Denver; Francis (Ming) Kuo, University of Illinois; Kathy Wolf, Washington University; Robert Ryan, UMASS Amherst; Len Hopper, FASLA, and Rodney Swink, FASLA, to name a few – all of whom are making a difference in how we collaborate and connect people with the benefits of nature through design.
I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with these ‘change makers’ on the Human Health and Well-being sub-committee of SITES and with Angela on developing the Living Architecture Performance Tool. It is Angela’s research on living architecture that this article is focused around, aligned with my work on the Green Guide for Health Care and on the Environmental Standards Council of The Center for Health Design. We hope this will be the first of several such articles to be published around these transdisciplinary efforts.