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Introducing Healing Gardens into a Compact University Campus - How Natural Space Design Promotes Healthy Universities

Introducing Healing Gardens into a Compact University Campus - How Natural Space Design Promotes Healthy Universities
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Introducing Healing Gardens into a Compact University Campus - How Natural Space Design Promotes Healthy Universities

  1. 1. Introducing healing gardens into a compact university campus Prof. Stephen Lau Department of Architecture The University of Hong Kong-How natural space design promotes healthy universities at HKU
  2. 2. Table of Contents: •A general framework of Healthy Universities •Objective of the research •Natural spaces and their mental health benefits -A green design approach to realize healthy universities •Applicability of healing garden concept to HKU campus •Therapeutic natural space design strategy at HKU
  3. 3. A general framework of Healthy Universities Definition of health –A state of complete physical, social and mental well- being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity [1]. –A resource for everyday life, not the object of living. It is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities [2]. [1]As defined by the Constitution of the World Health Organization(WHO) [2]As defined by the World Federation for Mental Health,
  4. 4. Healthy university promotion framework Six objectives forming a healthy university promoting agenda(Dooris, 1998)
  5. 5. Objective of the research –From the viewpoint of campus planning and architecture, the authors are specifically interested in the objectivesof creating health promoting and sustainable physical environment. –In an attempt to explore this objective in the context of universities in Hong Kong, this research focuses on the design of campus green spaceand its potential role in creating a health-supportive and sustainable campus environment.
  6. 6. Natural spaces and their mental health benefits Natural settings as a restorative environment: a theoretical perspective–Natural settings help to recover from directed attention fatigue. –A typical example of directed attention fatigueis thestate of mind of students at the end of a semester. –Nature settings meet the four requirementsfor a restorative environment (Kaplan, 1995): •Being away•Fascination•Extent•Compatibility
  7. 7. Natural spaces and their mental health benefits Empirical findings: Natural view and mental distress recovery–A study on college dormitory window view gives evidence that a natural view is beneficial for the attention restorative effects of students.(Tennessenand Cimprich, 1995) –A study on the influence of window view on recovery of surgery has showed that, patients inrooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had : •shorter postoperative hospital stays•received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses' notes and •took fewer potent analgesicsthan those with windows facing a brick building wall.(Ulrich, 1984)
  8. 8. Natural spaces as Healing gardens What is a healing garden? –Agarden “should contain prominent amounts of real nature content such as green vegetation, flowers, and water.” –And by labeling a garden a “healing”one, “the garden should have therapeutic or beneficial effects on the great majority of its users.”(Ulrich, 1999) Cloister Garden of Lincoln Cathedral ( Amodern healing garden: Duke University Medical Center (
  9. 9. •Sense of control and access to privacy•Social support•Physical movement and exercise•Access to nature and other positive distractions–Based on research in the behavior sciences and literature review of garden design, Ulrich argued thathealing gardensoffer the following listed resources (Ulrich, 1999): –So it is justified to believe that gardens in healthcare settings are capable of ameliorating stress recovery and probably other health outcomes. How does a healing garden foster mental recovery process?
  10. 10. Designing guidelines of Healing Gardens–Offer a sense of security and control–Provide various space patterns–Install sufficient plants and water featuresA clear, easy-to-cognize pattern, is helpfulto set up a sense of control over the surroundings and safety feeling. (http://www.wyco- Planting bed provides transition between public gathering area at right and more intimate seating area at left. (Illustrartionby M. Furgeson) Various plant species and water feature in Lily Pond, HKU
  11. 11. Designing guidelines of Healing GardensSpecial concerns in a high density context like Hong Kong –Select and locate trees tobring down the scaleof surroundings–Vertical greeneryor water curtainto soften hard boundaries–Use trees with tall trucks, narrowly-spread canopiesto provide green outlook from upper windows of nearby high rise buildingsGreen wall in Paley pocket park in New York ( Tree to bring down scales of tall buildings ( narrowly-spread and loose canopies do not block view from upper floors(
  12. 12. Applying healinggarden concept to university campus General usage pattern of campus green open space •Stay:Venue for activities like sunbath •Trespassing:landscaped pathways •To see and enjoy:Visual enhancement of surrounding windows and paths View into colorful garden in Japan( Activities on a college lawn (Wang & Ouyang. Ltd.) Trespassing Lily pond (Wang & Ouyang. Ltd.)
  13. 13. Existing green open space in HKU: design and usage patternHKU main campus today(Source: Wang&OuyangLtd.) Lily pond Main Building quartet courtyards Eliot Hall terraceCompact campus with limited open spaces
  14. 14. Natural space usage pattern•Small in size, not encouraging large groups of people to access/stay•One important function :to bring natural view to surrounding paths and windows, to enhance the psychological effect (stress attenuation, attention restoration, etc.) -Possible reasons: hot and humid climate /insects / limited green space / lack of facilities/ busy study and little spare time…
  15. 15. Healing gardens are suitable for HKU campus •The compact HKU campus can not accommodate wide and grandiose green open spaces commonly found in other universities in the world. •In contrary, natural settings in the form of courtyard gardens, atrium gardens and other similar types are suitable for the high density compact campus. •In this scenario, the concept of healing gardens would be very useful and can be an important reference to the natural space design in HKU. •it is helpful that all the fragments of natural pieces within HKU be systematic planned and designed as an integrated garden network. •By borrowing healing garden concept in HKU green space design, it is possible to enhance users’mental health and well-being.
  16. 16. Therapeutic natural space design strategy at HKUThe main and centennial campus planning, HKU (Wang &Ouyang)
  17. 17. Therapeutic natural space design strategy at HKUEnhance view from surrounding rooms: maximize window viewing from surrounding windows, provide visual buffers (shrubbery for instance) where necessary to guarantee access of privacy, mitigate a feeling of being in a “fish bowl”. 1. Enhance visual connections of the healing gardens and their surroundingsAcademicCourtyardsinproposedCentennialCampus(Wang &Ouyang)
  18. 18. Therapeutic natural space design strategy at HKU Configuration of an open space could have an impact on occupants’psychological feelings. One of the indexes indicating the characteristics of an urban space is aspect ratio (D/H, D = width of the space; H: height of the building flanking the space). D/H>1 open and spacious feelingD/H<1 oppressive feelingsD/H=1 a critical turning point(Ashihara, 1983) 2. Space morphology and user perceptionD/H>1Aspect ratio of courtyards in centennial campus Aspect ratio of courtyards in the Main Building3 < D/H < 4
  19. 19. Therapeutic natural space design strategy at HKU Some revisions: •enlarge the courtyard dimension in the S-N orientation •combining two or all the three courtyards as one courtyardLatest centennial campus design by Wang & Ouyangand Sasaki, the previous three courtyards were revised to two. 2. Space morphology and user perception
  20. 20. 3. Suggestion on designing the two courtyards: a meditation garden and an event garden Meditation garden: •surrounded by library and reading rooms. the theme is tranquility. •composed of several enclosed subspaces •greenery buffering zones to be designed for better privacy; surrounded by library reading rooms with access into the garden; •quiet water features; relatively dense vegetationcanopy Event garden: •close to the entry or lobby of the complex, is proposed to play a more public role •less greenery and more hard paving •jet of fountain is preferred to create some background sound •One side open to cafeteria or tea house to enhance usage of the garden Therapeutic natural space design strategy at HKU
  21. 21. www.edgarcayce.orgTherapeutic natural space design strategy at study of meditation gardens
  22. 22. natural space design strategy at HKUCase study of Event Campus courtyard(
  23. 23. 4. Choosethe rightplant species -Balance aesthetic, ecological and healthconsideration (climatic concern, ecology, native or non-native) -Native and non-native Why use exotic plants: aesthetic reason Non-native plants cause several problems •Use more water and require more maintenance work •Some will monopolize the local resources •Disrupt local bio-cycle Therapeutic natural space design strategy at HKU
  24. 24. 5. Green roof / wall as alternative for a compact campus sky / roof gardens in the centennial campus design similar features should be introduced tothe main campus Therapeutic natural space design strategy at
  25. 25. Thank You!