Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital
A landscape with therapeutic value is designed with the specific purpose of encouraging patients and their visitors to interact with nature, in order to aid the process of healing, explained landscape architect Annamari Comrie of GREENinc. Science has proven that patients who have a view of greenery and outside spaces, allowing the influx of light, from hospital beds recover more quickly. The design of the landscape spaces at the The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital enables visual and direct contact with nature, providing therapy that will invariably mean faster recovery for patients of all abilities, and will serve to give emotional strength to their families and to the staff of this facility dedicated to children in need of specialist paediatric care. These are children who cannot be treated at local clinics but need the attention of expert medical staff.
The winning architectural competition entry by Sheppard Robson of the United Kingdom stepped completely away from the stereotypical hospital with peripheral ‘green’ spaces contributing little to the hospital environment or experience. The landscape was conceptualised as the centre of the building’s design and took into careful consideration the need for people orientated, functional spaces. Comrie commended the architects for their provision of generous, well-positioned, open spaces for landscaping and large windows that gave the landscape architects every opportunity to bring nature into the building, both visually and to provide for therapeutic activities in the open air. She said “… the landscape binds everything together… the journey through the building is guided by landscape spaces”.
The concept of this hospital was envisioned by Nelson Mandela and has relied solely on donor funding. The funds are being raised by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust. Comrie related with fervour that her client comprised a group of inspirational women with humility, who showed an excellent grasp of the nurturing value of therapeutic landscapes.