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From the CRJA design team’s statement about the highly collaborative endeavor that generated the design of this healing garden:

Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) supports the active involvement of their Patient and Family Advisory Councils, an international model for patient- and family-centered care. The Healing Garden Working Group that oversaw the design was co-chaired by two DFCI patients. The Group included representatives from the Patient and Family Advisory Council, pediatric and adult nursing, safety and infection control, research management, physicians, members of the Arts and Environment Committee, DFCI Facilities and Project Management staff, architects and landscape architects. A garden was envisioned that would provide a warm and inviting space within the new outpatient clinical setting: an area of quiet respite in a natural environment for patients, families, and staff with adequate space for reflection and healing amid nature’s beauty.

In a highly collaborative endeavor, working under the direction of the project architects, the landscape architects developed conceptual alternatives for review by the Healing Garden Working Group. A detailed preferred Schematic Design was refined to facilitate cost estimating and allow the architects and engineers to plan for the required infrastructure, as the building itself was already well into construction during Schematic Design for the garden. The landscape architects provided visual examples of garden character and materials, and illustrative plans and sections which led the Working Group to express a clear preference for natural materials and a warm, naturalistic feel to the garden. A generous donation from Thea and James Stoneman later made possible the final design, construction and support for the maintenance of the garden.

This 2400 SF garden is part of a new, 275,000 SF state-of-the-art outpatient treatment and research facility of DFCI which is expected to receive LEED Silver certification for sustainability.

We welcome your comments about the process or final constructed design.

Carol R. Johnson Associates (CRJA) is an award-winning landscape architectural design and environmental planning firm with offices in Boston, Knoxville, and Beijing. Founded in 1959, our practice has expanded over the years into a 50-person firm serving clients throughout the U.S., the Middle East, China and other international locales.