Beyond landscape: development of a major healing garden
Healthcare in China is expanding faster than anywhere else on the planet and the impact of multiple, mega-medical centers on their communities, their culture and their general way of life are substantial. In 2015, Payette was commissioned to design a new, 2,500-bed academic medical center for a growing quadrant of Changsha, the capital city of the Hunan Province. A beautiful, elegant city sitting on the bank of the Xiang River, Changsha has long been known for its intellectual leadership, the arts and its love for extensive landscapes. The site for the new hospital, while extremely accessible and appropriate for the smart-growth concepts of the community, is set on a piece of land separating the adjacent housing complexes from a major public park. As is typical in China, the housing is extremely dense and the park served an important role in opening up the space and allowing a large population somewhere to decompress. Immediately, the design team focused on a concept of hospital development that ensured, if not celebrated, maintaining the relationship of the neighborhood to the park. This connective tissue (Figure 1), tying all of the elements together, would be a major outdoor space; a landscape that would extend beyond the traditional healing garden and embrace a much deeper purpose for the overall campus.