environment in the heart of the city that help to promote healing, health and well-being. AHBE Landscape Architects, an esteemed Los Angeles-based firm known for its expertise in designing thoughtful, evocative landscapes that allow for contemplation and reflection, has created a healing environment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for patients, hospital staff, and visiting families and friends.
Unique solution transforms a concrete plaza into a restorative space in the city
The existing site consisted of a concrete plaza atop a multi-level garage. Using the metaphor of human skin, AHBE developed a multi-layered landscape solution that protects the existing building’s structural and mechanical integrity and accounts for an existing drainage system, emergency access, lighting and way finding, as well as extreme weather conditions. The solution – a unique, green roof-inspired system built onto the plaza’s existing structure – maximizes the impact of the landscape while minimizing construction and alterations to the existing building.
“The Cedars-Sinai Healing Garden Plaza project presented several constraints that encouraged innovative thinking,” explains Calvin Abe, FASLA, RLA, who led the project team on behalf of AHBE Landscape Architects from concept design through construction administration. “The terraces had previously been unused for many years. We aimed to heal the epidermis of the complex by grafting a piece of living, breathing landscape above the existing parking decks.”
AHBE further redefined the space architecturally by creating four distinct gardens – the Garden of Whimsy, Blue Garden, Plaza Garden and Education Garden.
Garden of Whimsy is intended to lift and energize the human spirit. The garden features a sculptural pavilion by Ball Nogues Studio and undulating planters that when illuminated at night creates a scenic view from the patients’ rooms above. The pavilion knits together the landscape environment and creates a defining visual moment for visitors.
Blue Garden is a counterpoint to the Garden of Whimsy. Given its shady orientation throughout the year, this garden is about quiet, coolness and calm. Intended as a meditative place, AHBE located smaller, closely positioned seating areas in the garden for private conversations or solitude. Small circular reflecting pools with custom “firefly” light fixtures are placed throughout the landscape. The garden’s lights will change colors and enhance an experience that replicates serenity in nature.
Plaza Garden is a flexible event space with moveable and convertible furniture that functions as an outdoor cafe for a restaurant and a large courtyard space for tented receptions and larger events. Planters in the Plaza Garden feature textural foliage and large-scaled plants, such as agaves, supplemented with succulents and other shade loving plants.
Education Garden is intended to illustrate to the general public how plants from Mediterranean climates, known as “adaptive natives” with similar rainfall from around the world can be adaptable to Southern California. The garden incorporates spaces for outdoor lectures, health fairs and informal meetings.
The collaborative design supports Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s mission
“AHBE’s design for the hospital’s outdoor plaza enhances our ability to provide quality patient care which is our number one priority,” notes Zeke Triana, Vice President, Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He adds, “The wonderful feedback we have received reflects our goal for this project – to create a place for healing, health and well-being.”
Project team: Cedars-Sinai (project team: Zeke Triana, Adrienne Haynes, Kevin Hsu); AHBE Landscape Architects; Hensel Phelps, Contractor; Frank Webb Architects; HLB Lighting Design; KPFF Consulting Engineers (civil and structural engineering); JOMA Design Studio (fountain design); M-E Engineers, Inc. (MEP engineers); Ball-Nogues Design Studio (pavilion design); SKA Design (graphics and signage); AECOM (cost estimating); Mollenhauer Group (surveying); Sweeney + Associates (irrigation design); and Curtainwall Design Consulting. All photography by Heliphoto.
AHBE is an award-winning landscape architecture firm that believes in the pursuit of the greater good. Each project begins as an exploration about how the site is ecologically connected to the larger network of natural lands, open spaces and other landscapes. Seeing landscapes through the lens of infrastructure, AHBE takes a holistic approach to solving design problems. The firm’s commitment to sustainable design guides them to ask questions, explore new ideas and think innovatively. Out of this process, beauty and performance emerge from the landscape.
Since its beginning in 1902, Cedars-Sinai has evolved to meet the healthcare needs of one of the most diverse regions in the nation, continually setting new standards in quality and innovation in patient care, research, teaching and community service.
Today, Cedars-Sinai is widely known for its national leadership in transforming healthcare for the benefit of patients.
Cedars-Sinai is one of the largest nonprofit academic medical centers in the U.S. with 886 licensed beds, 2,100 physicians, 2,800 nurses and thousands of other healthcare professionals and staff. Clinical programs range from primary care for preventing, diagnosing and treating common conditions to specialized treatments for rare, complex and advanced illnesses. In addition, Cedars-Sinai serves the community through its Medical Network, which includes the highly rated Cedars-Sinai Medical Group and Cedars-Sinai Health Associates.
Cedars-Sinai has consistently been named one of America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, has received the National Research Corporation’s Consumer Choice Award 18 years in a row for providing the highest quality medical care in Los Angeles, and has the longest running Magnet designation for nursing excellence in California.
Cedars-Sinai is a leader in the clinical care and research of heart disease, cancer and brain disorders, among other areas. Pioneering research achievements include using cardiac stem cells to repair damaged hearts, developing minimally invasive surgical techniques and discovering new types of drugs to target cancer more precisely.
Cedars-Sinai also impacts the future of healthcare through education programs that encompass everything from highly competitive medical residency and fellowship programs to a biomedical science and translational medicine PhD program, advanced training for nurses and educational opportunities for allied health professionals. Most notably, Cedars-Sinai demonstrates a longstanding commitment to strengthening the Los Angeles community through wide-ranging programs that improve the health of its most vulnerable residents.
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Landscape: AHBE Landscape Architects