Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) is a world-class healthcare facility, with a design brief to create welcoming and integrated healing environs with a future proofed new model of healthcare. DP Green designed with a vision of modern healthcare beginning in the neighbourhood, which promote wellness and active living within the community, and modern hospitals are not only places to treat illness but also an extension of the public realm and nature.
The design framework is influenced by SKH’s philosophy of care on prevention and wellness – from ‘I’ to ‘WE’ – from Illness to Wellness. The landscape aims to meet the complex needs of short-term and long-term patients, healthcare providers, carers and the larger community, and is conceptualised as a wellness with nature experience in an inviting and tranquil environment. SKH comprises 3 main components namely the Medical Centre, General Hospital and Community Hospital. One of the landscape strategies is the provision of user-centric green spaces in a healing environment with clear and efficient wayfinding.
An inviting verdant public space
Responding to its urban context of a tight site with adjacent high traffic roads and elevated mass rapid transit viaduct, SKH is enveloped with welcoming verdant green connections at street land elevated connections to soften the urban edges, and create inviting pleasant gateways with seamless integration between hospital grounds with neighbouring densely built up high-rise public housing precincts.
At the prominent corner junction of Sengkang East Road, a welcome plaza greets visitors with distinctive Tabebuia argentea tree plantings. The trail of greenery continues into deeper parts of the hospital where the registration centres & building entrances are located. The other entrance located at Anchorvale Street is marked by a pair of towering Dyera costulata trees. Double rows of trees shade the pedestrian walkways, creating comfortable outdoor journeys all along the building perimeter, The planting palette is curated to species to create habitats and enhance biodiversity, while avoiding wind pollinated species to reduce introduction of allergens into the healthcare premises
Amongst the visitor spaces & retail areas at the ground floor, landscape focal nodes such as Butterfly Veranda planted with butterfly-attracting species, and a calming reflective pool graced with a ‘Balance’ sculpture by renowned local artist, Edwin Cheong.
The landscape is integrated with the building form to maximise patients’, healthcare providers and the community with varied experiences of welcoming nature to enhance healing and wellness. Greenery flows from ground floor gardens and plazas to multiple sky landscape terraces, culminating with a lush and expansive roof garden at which covers most of the 5th storey podium. The Leaf Area Index achieved is 20ha on a 6.8ha site, with a 2.9 green plot ratio.
A healing and inclusive landscape
Therapeutic design considerations are weaved into the landscape, with nodes and landscape programmes as wellness enablers. The verdant landscape at multiple levels brings the gardens close to upper level wards and operational areas. This green oasis in the sky is instrumental in creating a soothing environment providing views to nature from multiple vantage points from within the building, including majority of the patient wards. Patients at upper level wards enjoy respite with views into a verdant ‘Community Heart’, curated with inclusive design principles to encourage patients and visitors to participate in therapeutic and rehabilitative activities in the gardens. Various studies by leading universities have shown an environment comprising of natural light and lush greenery helps in the healing process by improving patient moods, speeding up recovery and decreasing the dependency for pain medication.
Many planters are ergonomically detailed; higher planter heights provide easy access by seniors without the need for bending down, with some specially detailed for easy access to therapeutic gardening activities for wheelchair users. In the dementia friendly Seniors’ garden, a looped route provides daily outdoor fitness activities and shaded rest areas. Clear line of sight provide ease of supervision from healthcare providers and therapists.
An enclosed Wellness Garden, only accessible to healthcare providers, is a serene place to seek respite and rejuvenate; interacting and immersing in nature to reduce fatigue & stress in a high-pressure healthcare environment.
Another highlight of the sky gardens is the cluster of edible landscape, featuring Herbs & Spices Garden, Vegetable Garden and a Community Garden (urban farming by volunteers).
Within a L-shaped site with many urban constraints, SKH holistic integration of health planning, therapeutic design, architecture and evidence-based design is a new vision of healthcare being part of the community fabric, and a welcoming public space and gardens in a densely built district.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Architect: DP Architects Pte Ltd
110 Sengkang E Way, Singapore
Design year: 2012
Year Built: 2018 (completion date)