Greening Boston Children's Hospital
Last week, we noted that Boston Children’s Hospital's plan for a new $1.2B patient tower is slated to eliminate the much loved Prouty healing garden. Not everyone was thrilled: Anne Gamble, a longtime hospital volunteer, emailed us to say the Prouty is one of the country’s most successful hospital healing gardens that can’t be duplicated. It has a secluded lawn, mature greenery and trees, and winding paths wide enough for wheelchairs and hospital beds. So we spoke with the hospital to learn more about how they might replace it.
The hospital tells us that it recognizes open green space as an essential part of its healing mission and a critical component of its development plan. The new patient tower features 38k SF of new gardens, larger than the 23k SF Prouty, and includes rooftop gardens, terrace gardens on inpatient floors, internal winter gardens and an "at-grade" garden being designed by a group of Prouty admirers, including Mrs. Prouty’s grandson, Mason Smith, who has endorsed the project.
Across the country, urban hospitals running out of space are struggling to balance their need for clinical facilities with the awareness that nature, sunlight and a quiet refuge for contemplation are part of the healing process, says Mikyoung Kim Design’s Mikyoung Kim, who is planning Children’s multiple green spaces. She says there will be a greater variety and number of such places throughout the new hospital. Some will feature natural materials and new interactive technology that will bring into the gardens the children‘s familiar world of play. Site prep for the new tower will start early in ‘16 and by year-end “significant” foundation work will be underway, the hospital’s chief real estate officer, Charles Weinstein, tells us.