The evolving role of site, landscape, and nature
Genuine architectural expressions of local vernacular culture, human experience, and local ways of making buildings are becoming rare in this age of standardized franchise healthcare, global economic uncertainty, and monolithic top-down healthcare oligarchies. With economic survival sometimes hanging in the balance in a highly competitive healthcare industry, hospitals are pitted against one another in the open marketplace to lure and to retain the best staff and to garner the best reputation. Genius loci remains a powerful yet elusive vehicle to an organization reaching its fullest potential in this regard. An ephemeral, obsessively mobile, fast-food, of-themoment culture runs the risk of perpetuating the mirror image of this in its hospital architecture. Three facets of genuine placemaking are discussed below – site planning, landscape design, and nature – each is viewed as a therapeutic intervention, from the scale of a community to that of a hospitalized inpatient’s room.