Surrounded by cacophonous architecture, loading docks, and residual urban conditions, the James Mandell Building at Boston Children’s Hospital brings a quiet dignified silhouette and focus to the streetscape, while capturing the vitality and energy of one of the world’s best children’s hospitals through its embedded nature features.
A hidden jewel, the “hanging garden” located in the center of the complex, is a quiet oasis suspended six floors above grade. The courtyard garden, carved from the center of a dense urban block, brings abundant natural light into the core of the new building and also becomes a focal point for rooms in the existing main building. As an urban design element in the hospital floor plate, the courtyard defines a vibrant sense of place and community for the inpatient units (existing and new) that surround it. Located on the sixth floor adjacent to the Bone Marrow Transplant Inpatient Unit, the courtyard provides a visual refuge for patients, families and staff. Configured as flexible series of outdoor rooms adjacent to the main corridor and family lounge, the courtyard is a visual extension of the inpatient unit. Anne DiNardo makes mention of the “hanging garden” in her recent article “Guest Services: A New Approach” for Healthcare Design Magazine. DiNardo’s article quotes Payette’s Director of Landscape Architecture, Brian Carlic as he noted, “Having outdoor spaces with plants, art, light, and color offers a patient distraction and privacy from their healthcare demands.”
The Pocket Park is part sculpture, part lighting installation, and provides a visual respite along a very tough stretch of Boston streetscape. Binney Street is a very busy vehicular and pedestrian cross street that is defined by loading docks, ambulance bays, dumpsters and drop-offs.