Olson Family Garden, St. Louis Children's Hospital
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The lawn and famous rolling granite sphere; Photo Courtesy Kelly LuckettProject Name: Olson Family Garden, St. Louis Children's Hospital
Year: 2000
Owner: St. Louis Children's Hospital
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
Building Type: Healthcare
Type: Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 7500 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Private
Submitted by: Greenroofs.com & Green Roof Blocks

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Landscape Architect: Ted Spaid, ASLA, Principal, Spaid Associates
Architect: Dick Kirschner, Principal, Mackey Mitchell Associates
Health Care Environment Consultant: Helen Orem, Orem Associates
Horticulturist Supervisor: Gary Wangler, St. Louis Children's Hospital
Director, Facility Services: Mark Barkenbush, St. Louis Children's Hospital
Cchaplain & Design Committee Member: Hal Morse, St. Louis Children's Hospital
General Contractor: Scott Olson, Project Engineer & Project Manager, McGrath & Associates
Waterproofing: Sarnafil
Landscape Architects: Herb Schaal, FASLA, Principal; Craig Russell, Associate ASLA, Project Manager; Joe McGrane, Landscap, EDAW
Chaplain & Design Committee Member: Hal Morse, St. Louis Children's Hospital
Pumpkins herald in the Autumn; Photo Courtesy Kelly LuckettA Pretty Spring View; Photo Courtesy Kelly LuckettA Winter scene, Jan '07; Photo Courtesy Kelly Luckett
"At the end of a quiet, carpeted hall on the eighth floor of the Saint Louis Children's Hospital, an electronic door opens into a green oasis in the form of a rooftop garden dedicated to healing mind and body through connections with nature. "In contrast to the interior of the hospital, which tends to be sterile and monotonous, you feel as if something is coming to life around you [in the garden]," says Craig Russell, ASLA, project manager for EDAW in Fort Collins, Colorado." (Hammatt, 2002)

The Olson Family Garden has been acknowledged numerous times in national professional publications educating readers about healing gardens, garden landscape benefits in medical facilities, Horticulture Therapy and garden space utilization as well as in gardening publications. St. Louis Children's Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Child magazine as one of America's best children's hospitals, and has been awarded nursing's highest honor, the Magnet designation.
Summertime photo of the Olson Family Garden Rooftop at the St. Louis Children's Hospital; Photo Source: Mackey Mitchell Associates Living sculptures on the roof; Photo Winter '07 Courtesy Kelly Luckett of January 2007
"...The design for the approximately 7,500-square-foot roof garden at the St. Louis Children's Hospital, spearheaded by Herb Schaal, FASLA, a principal with EDAW, Fort Collins, in collaboration with project architect Mackey Mitchell Associates of St. Louis, Missouri, recently won an honor award from the Colorado chapter of ASLA. The garden does not embrace any particular style or genre of garden design or illustrate a particular metaphorical reference to medical history. But every nook and cranny is carefully detailed with something to discover, creating experiences that involve visitors by reaching out to all their senses. Patients, families, and visitors are offered a place to face sickness in a beautiful outdoor setting, a place where they can find new strength for what lies ahead," writes Heather Hammatt, ASLA in LAM of May 2002 (see below).

The Olson Family Garden is open all year at the St. Louis Children's Hospital. Snow can be very beautiful in the garden setting as well as pose a safety issue. The advantage of having the permeable rubber path material is that it allows water to drain through to the drain mats and roof drains, which removes the water and weight immediately.

Additional thumbnail photos:

The Koi pond, turtles and all; Photo Courtesy Kelly LuckettBridge to seating in the shade; Photo Courtesy Kelly LuckettThe pond encourages interaction; Photo Courtesy Kelly LuckettBeauty & relaxation on the intensive greenroof; Photo Courtesy Kelly LuckettPhoto Courtesy Kelly Luckett
Visit the St. Louis Children's Hospital website here. Read the excellent article from Landscape Architecture Magazine by Heather Hammatt, ASLA, of May 2002 entitled "A World Outside - Landscape architects design a detailed roof garden, providing a natural escape for patients and families at the St. Louis Children's Hospital" here.
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