Harnessing the power of nature in healing - Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

KTPH bags design award for the way it blends nature into hospital's building
Salma Khalik Straits Times 14 Dec 17;

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's lush landscaping - it boasts a waterfall, gardens and ponds all within its grounds - has earned it the honour of being named one of the world's most "biophilic" buildings.

KTPH beat out a wide field of contenders to win the inaugural Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award - a prize that honours a Yale University academic who helped pioneer "biophilia", a theory about humans' affinity with the natural world.

The award - set up after Dr Kellert's death last year - was conferred on the hospital in Yishun by the International Living Future Institute ahead of 20 other entrants.

It said in its announcement yesterday: "Khoo Teck Puat surpasses traditional hospitals and opens the door towards a new kind of building type for the healthcare industry, which considers how the built and natural environment can become part of the healing process."

It said the hospital "used nature as a healing process" through paying close attention to all the human senses, noting that it is also a natural habitat for butterflies, birds and fish.

"The rainforest-like landscaping that weaves in and out of the hospital infuses the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents."

Its design boasts such features as natural ventilation in patient rooms and the transformation of a storm water pond into a "lake feature".

KTPH is no stranger to design awards, with about 20 others under its belt, including the President's Award for the Environment, which it received last month.

Chief executive Chew Kwee Tiang said: "When we designed KTPH, we aspired to create 'a hospital in a garden and a garden in a hospital'."

She said that while the surrounding flora and fauna act as a healing oasis for patients, it also serves as a shared space for the community.

The other four close contenders for the award received honourable mentions. Three are from the United States.

One was The Phipps Centre for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, which was described as "a habitat for biodiversity and a nursery for the landscape".

The Etsy Headquarters in New York was singled out for "bringing nature inside and creating varied scale spaces that replicate nature's patterns", while Cookfox Architects Studio, also in New York, shone for "its direct and visual connections to nature and natural cycles".

The Yanmar Headquarters in Osaka, Japan, was also honoured. Its "glass-enclosed beehive in the centre of the building is an innovative focal point, a bold staircase is a biomimetic journey and a water feature is a unique approach towards a meditative and restful space for staff and visitors alike".