By Clair Hurford
A hospital whose garden is part of the healing process.
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) stands as testament to the awareness within the healthcare sector that the presence of greenery has a therapeutic effect on people. A short distance by foot from Yishun MRT in Singapore’s north-eastern corner, KTPH is set among the colourful concrete HDB (Housing Development Board) units built in various iterations since the late 1960s. But with the building’s aluminium fins, trellises, screens and light shelves, courtyards, roof gardens and beautiful garden spaces for patients’ healing, KTPH is signalling a new era of commitment to biophilic design.
KTPH is a 590-bed general and acute care hospital that has garnered over a dozen national and international awards for its green and energy efficient design since opening in June 2010, the most recent being the first ever Stephen R. Kellert Biophlilic Design Award in 2017.
Among 21 international participants, KTPH was recognised by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) for its ‘innovative and extensive use of biophilic design to promote healing and well-being.’ Central to KTPH’s building design is the idea that ‘nature would nurture’ with lush greenery incorporated throughout the hospital and the building completed with eco-friendly designs to maximise energy efficiency. KTPH was designed with a unique legacy in mind – as a ‘hospital within a garden and a garden in a hospital’ says Mrs Chew Kewee Tiang, CEO of KTPH & Yishun Health.
Designed as a high-density development, the mass of the hospital ‘wraps’ around a central garden courtyard and opens out to the adjacent Yishun pond.
Every available roof was designed as rooftop gardens and even the canopy of the outdoor toilet block were landscaped. Planter boxes have been incorporated along the natural ventilated corridors, bring a garden right outside the window.
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital ‘surpasses traditional hospitals and opens the door towards a new kind of building type for the healthcare industry’ says Amanda Sturgeon FAIA, CEO of ILFI. ‘[It] considers how the built and natural environment can become part of the healing process.’