Is it a hospital in a garden or a garden in a hospital? Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is both. The 1.1-million-square-foot, 590-bed public facility deeply integrates plants in its architecture. This Singapore hospital offers a healing environment by appealing to the senses, from sight—views of abundant greenery and water features—to the smell of those plants and the sound of falling water.
Greenery takes up nearly four times the size of the plot of land, known as the green plot ratio, giving the hospital a rainforest-like quality that’s heightened by the dragonflies, birds, and butterflies attracted to this oasis in the city. The hospital, which opened in 2010, won the most recent Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award, an International Living Future Institute award that recognizes exemplary projects. Kellert pioneered the field of biophilic design, which believes humans are healthier in environments connected to their natural surroundings.
The hospital is built in a V-shaped configuration to allow breezes to first skim over the stormwater pond next to the site. In the center is a forest-like court with greenery cascading to the highest levels of the building, bringing nature to patients’ bedsides.
To the architect Stephen Kieran, the hospital proves the essential role this approach can play in improving health. “With Khoo Teck Puat, we see that biophilic design elements and attributes should not only be considered as part of the design process, but also as part of the healing process.”
Honorable mentions for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award are: Center for Sustainable Landscapes (Pittsburgh, PA), Etsy Headquarters (New York, NY), COOKFOX Architects Studio (New York, NY), Yanmar Headquarters (Osaka).
Green Plot Ratio
This metric shows the relationship between the surface area, either horizontal or vertical, filled with greenery, to the plot of land. It’s an indicator of how much greenery there is in a given development.
Shaping a building into an angled series of blocks can maximize natural ventilation and reduce energy usage.
An artificial lake surrounded by vegetation helps prevent flooding and erosion after rainfall.
This practice believes humans will thrive in built environments that integrate elements of the natural world.