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UPMC Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers Terrace Healing Garden

Pittsburgh, PA

Located in the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the design of the rooftop garden serves as a positive distraction for patients, before and during treatment, while taking precautions to prevent infections.

Therapeutic design strategies formed the basis of the design. The state-of-the-art treatment facility reflects a natural spa, with finishes in calming colors and natural materials, both inside and out. Colorful kinetic wind sculptures and plants provide a variety of textures, colors, and fragrances. An interactive sound sculpture chimes when patients walk by and a putting green serves to pass the time. A variety of spaces, seating arrangements, and views offer patients choice and a sense of control over their environment. Curvilinear paths around planting islands offer patients decision points when walking through the space.

The garden’s seasonal interest can be viewed from interior treatment bays. Evening lighting, colorful tulip fixtures, and fire-fly lights hidden in shrubs help highlight sculptural elements and provide visual interest at night. Ornamental grasses and shrubs provide winter interest.

Neutropenic precautions address specific needs of blood cancer patients. Locations of shade structures were based on computer modeling of sun and shade patterns. Materials are anti-microbial, non-toxic, sustainable, and easy to clean. A screened storage bin and low maintenance plants and materials reduce maintenance trips through the sterile facility.