The Greater Baltimore Medical Center demonstrates clear intentionality to utilize nature as complementary to the other health services that occur on this impressive campus. The hospital has expressed a wish to engage their unique community of providers, staff, associates, patients, and visitors in the design of a Sacred Place that would provide a natural sanctuary and respite from the stress and trauma they might experience in their everyday lives. Careful thought and consideration for the wellbeing of the heroic healthcare workers at GBMC is evident through a culture that encourages those staff members to utilize the grounds for walking and other outdoor experiences throughout their workday.

This Sacred Place will be located adjacent to the Labor & Delivery Unit, which will allow easy access for providers, staff, and visitors. The site is split into two key zones: one for the patients occupying the delivery rooms that look out onto the site, and the other for loved ones and staff that may come to the site to walk or take a break. To offer the patients privacy and a more restorative view, the first zone is for them alone to experience, obscured from view by artistic screens interspersed across the garden. The plantings here are lush and low, incorporating ferns, sweetspire, and other plants suitable for the shaded, moister conditions on that part of the site. In the other zone, an accessible pathway meanders from the sidewalk down to the building entrance, festooned with masses of bright coneflowers, hydrangeas, and dogwoods. A cascading water feature is a key focal point along the path. During the design process, stakeholders felt very strongly that the one large baldcypress on the site should be preserved, and with the addition of a viewing platform and Nature Sacred Bench, visitors have the opportunity to contemplate its beauty. Between the viewing platform and the water feature is an open lawn space that will be used for family programs.

 

Design Team:

Jay Graham, Nature Sacred Design Advisor