“We’ve developed landscapes around many health facilities, but this was different,” commented, Colum Downey, who with the assistance of fellow project manager, Raivis Linins recently completed work on a fascinating project at Beaumont Hospital.
“Our design team were asked the review the campus and propose simple interventions, which would provide front line workers with an opportunity to take light exercise. To have a chance to take a break in a safe environment. Although space is tight we identified a number of areas that allowed for intervention but which also provided for increasing biodiversity and engagement with nature,” explained Colum.
The Sylvan Walk utilises a narrow track of green space running along the main entrance avenue. Its intention is simple: encourage exercise by creating a meandering path with informal seating set within existing mature trees. “The existing mature trees are very important to staff and local residents and we felt they offered a great opportunity for engagement. By introducing a path, changing the mowing regime to encourage pollinators, introducing native bulb species and providing benches, we are subtly changing the look, feel and use,” says Raivis. “There are countless studies which demonstrate how contact with nature provide positive psychological benefits and the Sylvan Walk is an excellent example of how existing spaces can be simply reinterpreted to provide high-value experiences.”
The walk is the first of a number of similar projects being undertaken on the campus. What began as a conversation about exercise has expanded to include mindfulness, social connection, sustainability, environmental performance, tree protection and biophilic design. “We get immense pleasure from the work we do, but this type of work really captures something at the heart of landscape horticulture: making simple interventions in the landscape which provide positive benefits for people and nature. And with the Sylvan Walk we got to create it for frontline workers. It really meant a lot to Raivis, Lauris, Sanders, myself and the whole team”
We’re very excited to complete ongoing works for the frontline staff and campus users at Beaumont. Watch this space for updates.
A selection of photos capturing the project build