Mikyoung Kim Design
Above Chicago’s new Lurie Children’s Hospital, a wonderful oasis has been created which embodies Biophilic Design principles. Incorporating a garden into the hospital environment can create positive distractions for its users; it has the potential to generate pleasurable memories and encourage social connections between the patients, staff and visitors. This can increase staff and patient satisfaction and reduce stress levels all of which can improve the experience of what can be a stressful and emotionally demanding environment.
The Crown Sky Garden sits on the roof of the city hospital. Encasing this healing garden in glass, the landscape architects Mikyoung Kim Design have maximised the amount of natural light entering the space. Exposure to natural light has been proven to reset our circadian rhythms – the cycle of hormonal activity within our bodies that affect both our mood and ability to sleep. There is a body of evidence, which demonstrates that this rebalancing can reduce healing time in patients and stress levels in all hospital users (from the patients, to their families and the healthcare professionals).
Mikyoung Kim Design
The glass walls also enable expansive views out across the city’s skyline from a sheltered position. Experiencing a sense of prospect from a place of refuge has been proven to have a positive psychological effect on us, which may go back to evolutionary survival instincts to set up dwellings in positions where we could look out for sources of food and predators.
Within the garden a bamboo grove, water fountains, locally sourced natural stone and reclaimed wood bring nature into the space whilst delightful interactive light and sound features emulate natural elements. There is evidence that contact with nature is critical in children’s formative years to buffer against life’s stresses and to help form social bonds. For those undergoing healthcare treatments, this would seem particularly crucial to help with recovery and to create joyful experiences.