University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) understands the important role healing gardens can play inpatient rehabilitation. However, space for such a garden is virtually nonexistent on the ground level of their Highland Avenue site, making use of an existing rooftop the only viable option.
Saiki Design was tasked with envisioning how 14,000 square feet of conventional roof could be repurposed as an outdoor garden oasis that offered patients, faculty, staff and visitors alike an opportunity for respite from the institutional confines of the hospital’s interior.
One of the biggest challenges revolved around the structural limitations of the existing roof, which could not support the amenities UWHC desired. A new superstructure was needed to support the proposed improvements. Saiki Design worked closely with the structural engineer to design the garden and supporting structure as a unified whole, resulting in a complex system of interconnected walls and ramps that provide barrier free access five feet up from the existing entry.
The multi-level, exquisitely-detailed sculptural healing garden includes a series of therapeutic strolling paths, a large gathering area for public interaction and small events, intimate garden nooks for those seeking solitude, a horticulture therapy area, two custom shade structures, a wide variety of moveable tables and chairs, interactive garden art and a Little Free Library.