Whitin Giroux Works

Creativity. Innovation. Design Excellence.

formerly Whitin Design Works

Health Care

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Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Campus
Anaheim, California

The heart of the 27-acre Kaiser Anaheim Campus is the 2-acre Healing Garden. The Garden has a direct pedestrian link to the local Metrolink station and adjacent mixed use projects. The Healing Garden is a new prototype for Kaiser’s patient-centered medicine, acknowledging the recent acceptance of the role of landscape in the healing process. Outdoor spaces for patients, hospital staff and visiting families include 2 hospital courtyards and 4 significant outdoor gardens for occupational therapy, meditation, group gatherings, dining with fountains and seating and a ¼ mile exercise path.

The western tradition of healing gardens originated in the Middle Ages when monastery hospital courtyards provided garden refuges for patients and herbal gardens for their physicians’ medicines. 19th century sanatoriums embraced the healing power of nature and fresh air in the wide spread use of outdoor decks for recuperating patients. Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest hospital in the United States, was modeled on European “pavilion” hospitals which emphasized the importance of views, outdoor garden rooms and “Physic Gardens” medicine ingredients. The importance of integrating nature into the institutional experience reemerged in the 1970’s with research by the Kaplan, Ulrich and Barnes that quantified the benefits of landscape to health and wellness, including reducing post-op complications, reducing stress by evoking positive feelings and the shortening of post-op hospital stays for patients who have views of natural scenery.

Today’s accepted planning and design practices for hospital campuses and buildings incorporate the benefits of complementary therapies. This includes comprehensive campus design of all areas (even parking lots) as part of the restorative environment; the integration of interior building spaces with outdoor spaces; garden therapies (sensory, physical, occupational, horticultural, herbal, etc); and the collaboration of administrators, patient users and advisory groups,physicians, architects, landscape architects and artists in the programming and design process.