George Washington University graduate students Julie Melear, Janet Conroy, and Mary Sper’s landscape design for HARVEST HOME, a Wounded Warrior home built for a veteran, has won the Gold Award in outdoor design from the Association for Professional Landscape Design (APLD). The house was designed and built by college students competing in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, which challenges collegiate teams to design solar powered houses that are cost effective, energy efficient, and attractive.
The goal for the solar competition was to create a comfortable and healing environment for its resident, a military veteran battling a combination of physical and emotional trauma. The landscape design – which was the basis of Julie Melear’s master’s thesis – continued the house’s conservation theme with the following outdoor elements:
- A rainwater cistern to collect 100 percent of the roof runoff;
- Deck tiles made from recycled tires;
- A beehive and compost bin;
- Two organic gardens with edible plants.
The house, including the outdoor landscape elements, was donated to Wounded Warrior Homes in the San Diego area and a veteran has already been chosen to occupy the home.
The house sat on tarmac at a former Marine Corps base in Irvine, California. The lot measured 78’ x 60’ and the house had to face south to maximize sun exposure on the solar panels. On both sides, an invisible 52-degree angle established a Solar Envelope which had to contain house and landscape. The project was subjected to a limited water supply and harsh Santa Ana winds during the competition.
HARVEST HOME was Team Capitol DC’s entry in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. In October 2013, 20 worldwide collegiate teams competed to design and build zero energy homes that were also attractive and affordable.
Design Intent/Project Description
HARVEST HOME was designed for a returning war veteran suffering from PTSD. All aspects of the landscape were designed for the health of the veteran as well as the desire to reconnect him to community and family.
The foremost design goal was to create a peaceful and healing environment for the injured war veteran.
The second was to incorporate sustainable elements that raise the home’s energy efficiency and showcase the value of responsible landscape design.
The third goal was to work within strict parameters including temporary installation, harsh environment, tight space and solar envelope limitations. The concept for the design, “Erasing the Lines”, incorporated this theme in all design decisions.
The final landscape plan doubles the square footage of the 900 sq. foot home through use of ramps, decks and landings and creates an enjoyable way to take advantage of the mild climate. The Harvest Deck showcased a unique dining table featuring a water rill and herbs down the center of the table. This high impact water feature provided sensory stimulation for the residents and combined with the rustling grasses on the north edge of the deck to reinforce the restorative qualities of nature.
Irvine is in the Native Coastal Scrub plant community. Many of the plants selected were native to the region and able to withstand adverse climatic conditions without additional intervention. Two vegetable gardens provide fresh, organic produce enhancing the veteran’s ability to heal both physically and emotionally. Research shows that working with the earth engages the homeowner in a restorative, healing activity that stimulates positive growth.
Due to the temporary nature of the exhibit and the growing interest in new farming techniques, the edibles were planted in recycled milk crates. These modular units could be changed based on the season and weather conditions. Not only are they easy to use, they are very affordable and represent alternative methods of gardening.
Other energy efficient elements included a cistern, which collected roof rainwater. This stormwater, along with grey water was used to irrigate many of the plants. Additional sustainable practices included recycled materials, solar lighting, a beehive, a compost bin and a clothesline used to save energy when drying laundry. We built a system that harvested valuable resources to create a home that is both sustainable and beautiful.
What: HEALTHCARE DESIGN 2014
When: November 15-18, 2014
Where: San Diego, CA
I always look forward to HEALTHCARE DESIGN, the annual conference organized by the Center for Health Design. There’s only one problem: It’s too good! There are always too many sessions that I want attend. Ah, the agony of choice. Not such a bad thing, really. And this year, it’s in sunny San Diego. The facility tours are sure to be excellent, and the education sessions look great – below are a few that I hope to attend, and one I’ll be speaking at (“Therapeutic Landscapes for Specific Patient Groups”) with my book co-author, Clare Cooper Marcus.
Earlybird registration is open for another two weeks (ends 8/8), so get on it.
Hope to see you there!
Therapeutic Environments, Neurosciences, and Architecture Forum and Panel Discussion
November 16, 2014 | 1:40 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
Eve Edelstein, MArch, PhD, EDAC, Assoc., AIA, F-AAA, Associate Professor, CAPLA + IPW, University of Arizona; Affiliated Research Specialist, Calit2/Qi, University of California, San Diego; President, Innovative Design Science
Lisa Lipschutz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, Lean Green Belt, Principal, Array Architects
Jon Sell, Principal, Array Architects
Kevin M. Turner, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Freelon Group
This forum will provide a platform for advancing research-enhanced design with emphasis on behavioral and geriatric populations. Discussion will center on best-practice design standards as well as new approaches to care with project-specific examples. The forum will review practical means to apply scientific methods and new technologies within the architectural process. A pragmatic neuro-architectural process will be described that applies evidence-gathering on time, and within budget, to enhance the impact of design on human outcomes. Examples will include architectural projects where research is integrated at each stage of the process including post-occupancy evaluation. New and emerging technologies including immersive CAVE mockups, sound simulations, and synchronous biosensors of brain and body activity will be included.
Natural Visual Stimuli: Creating Positive Birthing Experiences
Monday, November 17 | 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Rehab Aburas, PhD Candidate, Texas Tech University
Debajyoti Pati, PHD, FIIA, IDEC, LEED AP, Rockwell Professor, College of Human Sciences, Department of Design, Texas Tech University
Robert Casanova, MD, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Assistant Dean of Clinical Sciences Curriculum, Associate Professor Obstetrics and Gynecology, Program Director Obstetrics and Gynecology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Nicole Gilinsky Adams, PhD, Graduate Faculty – Educational Psychology, College of Education, Texas Tech University
The birthing experience, and birthing environments, can often paint a woman’s attitude toward healthcare for a long time. Healing environments that incorporate natural visual stimuli can be designed to meet the patient’s need for physical and psychological comfort. Incorporating design elements and strategies that calm and reduce stress effects may create positive experiences for women in labor. This session examines the impact of one such strategy, namely the presentation of a series of nature images, on the labor and delivery experience, with data to support those findings.
Designing Nature into Urban Healthcare Environments
Monday, November 17 | 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Andrew Jarvis, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, EwingCole
David Kamp, FASLA, LF, NA, President, Dirtworks Landscape Architecture, PC
Bringing nature into the experience of patients in urban areas, where most Americans receive their care, is challenging and often opposed. Presenters will share successful strategies for justifying the value of natural environments within densely developed healthcare settings and will show how the obstacles of cost, space, maintenance, and infection control may be overcome. Attendees will hear how such efforts may identify new partners and tie into larger planning and economic initiatives. Given the profound influence of natural environments on health, this session will give you practical tools for designing nature into difficult healthcare spaces.
In the Lap of Nature: Benefits of Nature Stimulus in Patient Room Ceilings
Monday, November 17 | 4:40 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.
Debajyoti Pati, PHD, FIIA, IDEC, LEED AP, Rockwell Professor, Texas Tech University
Susan Sayari, MSN, RN, Director of Nursing, Covenant Health
Patricia Freier, MSN, RN-BC, RCIS, Project Specialist, Covenant Health
Shabboo Valipoor, MA, Doctoral Student, Texas Tech University
Researchers have consistently produced evidence that exposure to nature can improve health outcomes. This presentation addresses the challenge in providing direct nature views in patient rooms and focuses on one solution where simulated photographic sky compositions are installed in the patient room ceiling. Attendees will hear the key report findings from an experimental study conducted in 10 rooms in a medical-surgical unit (five experimental rooms fitted with ceiling sky compositions and five control) where a range of data was collected from 181 patients in a period of eight months and will explore program areas best suited for incorporation of photographic sky compositions.
Do Curves Matter? An fMRI Examination of Neural Reactions to Formal Attributes of Healthcare Environments
Tuesday, November 18 – 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Debajyoti Pati, PhD, FIIA, IDEC, LEED AP, Rockwell Professor, Texas Tech University, Department of Design, Texas Tech University
Jiancheng Hou, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University
Upali Nanda, PhD, EDAC, Vice President and Director of Research, HKS Inc.
Hessam Ghamari, Research/Teaching Assistant in Department of Design, PhD Candidate, Texas Tech University
This session reports the findings from a neuroscience study that focuses on the brain’s reaction to contour information perceived from the visual environment. Extending previous studies in neuropsychology, the study examines the brain’s amygdala region—the region associated with fear response. This session will present key study findings and discuss its implications for healthcare design from the perspective of fear, anxiety, and stress reduction. Since fear, anxiety, and stress are outcomes of concern to a broad range of stakeholders, this session will be of interest to architects, interior designers, product designers, as well as owners.
Therapeutic Landscapes for Specific Patient Groups
Tuesday, November 18 – 9:20 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.
Naomi A. Sachs, ASLA, EDAC, Founding Director, Therapeutic Landscapes Network
Clare Cooper Marcus, Professor Emerita, Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, Hon. ASLA, Principal, Healing Landscapes
The design of healing gardens and their provision as part of a healthcare facility’s therapeutic environment are receiving an increasing amount of attention and funding. Frequently, however, such gardens are designed as “one size fits all” rather than for the needs of specific users and patient populations. This presentation will explore the importance of understanding why particular patient groups would want to use an outdoor space; how they use it; and in what way the space needs to be designed differently at a patient-specific facility as compared to a facility serving a wide variety of patients (as well as visitors and staff).
Access to Nature, Daylight, and Fresh Air: Staff Break Areas in Healthcare Facilities
Tuesday, November 18 – 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Adeleh Nejati, MArch, EDAC, PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, Texas A&M University
Dr. Mardelle Shepley, DArch, FAIA, FACHA, EDAC, LEED AP, Professor, Department of Architecture, The Skaggs-Sprague Endowed Chair in Health Facilities Design, and Director of the Center for Health Systems & Design, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University
There are exciting new findings about designing health-promoting break areas for nursing staff in healthcare facilities. The focus of this study is to investigate components of a well-designed staff break area and how it can positively impact staff mood and performance by providing restorative environments with access to nature, natural light, and fresh air. It also shows how a well-located break area with appropriate visual and physical access to the outdoor environment can help reduce fatigue, increase productivity, and enhance nurses’ satisfaction with the work environment, which ultimately results in higher quality of care and patient and family satisfaction.
“Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
- Albert Einstein
Kevan Busa first contacted me in August of 2012. He was in his last year as an undergraduate in landscape architect at SUNY-ESF, and had been excited about the upcoming semester abroad program in Barcelona, Spain…until he was diagnosed with Leukemia. When he emailed me, he was in his fourth out of five rounds of chemotherapy, and was scheduled to be in Buffalo for three months to get a bone marrow transplant. He wrote, “I talked to my school and doctors and i think that i am going to be doing an independent study of healing spaces while i am there.” Seriously? You plan on doing research while you recover from chemo and a bone marrow transplant? Wow. And he did! His research was subsequently published in the June, 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine. I asked him to write a guest post for the TLN Blog, and he graciously agreed. The post is below.
Looking back at by far the hardest year of my life, I have realized the potential that I have to share my information with the professional world and especially people interested in healing spaces. There is more information being added every day that will help so many people in the future and am honored to be adding my research and experience to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network.
I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and went through a Bone Marrow Transplant within the past year. There was a lot to take in when I got sick and to think about, especially life. Being a landscape architecture student at the State University of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the topic of healing spaces from within a hospital setting was always on my mind. I went through chemotherapy rounds as the world around me was enjoying summer and the outdoors. All I wanted to do was to be outside when I wasn’t getting treatment.
The fact that even thinking about the outdoors kept me mentally engaged was something that I could not have understood until I was in such a hard time in my life. I wanted to research healing spaces for patients who were going through something but both my doctors and advisors weren’t sure about the concept of trying to get a Bone Marrow Transplant while taking credit in school. They didn’t know me well enough because when it was time to travel to Buffalo, New York for the Bone Marrow Transplant, I was enrolled with nine credits in school and ready to learn about healing spaces from a patient’s point of view.
I became fully immersed in the healthcare setting and was restricted to no contact with any green space. I had to take a different stance than most landscape designers by creating a synthesis of landscape design with what my disease and doctors were allowing. I became obsessed with studying the history and recent precedent projects of healthcare design. The relationship between humans and the environment goes back hundreds of years and the adaptations that they used to heal mentally and physically were amazing to see over generations and cultures. By looking at this research, it interested me to do a complete analysis project of the park at Roswell Cancer Institute named Kaminski Park.
Although I wasn’t able to visit the park at all while doing my research because it was unsafe for my health, I was able to pick up on minor details of the site and how the design could actually further complicate a patient’s health. The fact that these details were overlooked might not seem like a lot to an average human but for someone with a compromised immune system, going through chemotherapy/radiation, and other issues, it could be life threatening. Even down to the detail of patients with I.V. poles needing a smooth surface for them to walk with their poles, was being overlooked. Such a simple concept but was not done in the correct manor for these patients. It looked great, but the hospital would not be there without patients. Patients are the ones who need these spaces to heal, and that needs to be the focus.
As I continue to deal with health issues on a daily basis, I am very happy to be out of a hospital room and back into the environment. I use every opportunity to be outdoors with my short leash attached so that I can use the landscape in a healthy and precautious matter. Please take a look at the attached 3 page spread that appeared in Landscape Architecture Magazine in June 2013 to see more of my work and ideas.
Thank you and be in good health always,
And thank YOU, Kevan! Keep up the wonderful work.
Bio: Kevan earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the State University of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). After being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, he underwent a Bone Marrow Transplant. During treatment, he analyzed the Healing Garden at Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. His project, published in the June 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, examines healing spaces from the patient’s perspective revealing lifesaving details designers often miss. He has spoken at the New York State American Institute of Architects convention and published multiple interviews about how his work can inform healthcare design.
Busa, K. (2013, June). The designer becomes the patient. Landscape Architecture Magazine, 114-117. Busa LAM June 2013