THE HEALING GARDEN

A rehabilitation center is known to be a place of stress, where patients are recovering from traumatic experiences. Nature areas, however, have been found to give the quickest restoration reaction after stress. Since natural elements provide healing, it is essential to incorporate them into this disturbing environment. A healing garden is an outdoor space designed to help address people’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. It should provide a feeling of security and accommodate different types of activities, promoting either privacy and rest or social interaction, improving the quality of life of people who inhabit the space.

CONCEPT

After analyzing what are the different users and understanding their needs, three main goals were established for this proposal:

• Allow disabled people to experience change of levels
• Provide healing through healthy food (edible garden)
• Present the experience of the healing benefits of the water

A terracing structure was created to hide the retaining wall and accommodate an edible garden, with fruit bearing trees and shrubs. It is accessed by a ramp that allows disabled people to pick up fruits from the trees that are in a lower level. This ramp gives access to a private space.

The cascade and the reflecting pool bring the healing benefits of the water. This water can be touched by a seating area in the reflecting pool on the group space, but it can also be touched by disabled people on the other side of the cascade, in a private hub. The water also introduces sound to the landscape, promoting relaxation and creating a sound buffer that increases privacy in the conversations.

The wooden deck has boulders for seating and relaxation and also an area with tables and chairs for meals, gatherings and work. The dry creek can now be used as a contemplation and play area.