The Healing Garden at Benesse Oncology Center, a Major Health Partner, is an almost one-acre garden/park with four serene water features, several seating areas that allow for social interaction or privacy, walkways, and a wide variety of lush plantings. The healing garden is an important component of the mind-body-soul treatment philosophy at Benesse.
The Healing Garden’s function is to help cancer patients heal as well as to provide a place for caregivers and families to relax, unwind, and revive themselves through nature. The aesthetic quality of the design was carefully considered in order to provide a place that is suitable for everyone, no matter their needs. There are places to sit or walk in the sun or shade, as well as seating areas that provide a place for social interaction or private meditation. The garden is subtly divided into two halves, one that is more formal and one that is more natural, so that people can choose the environment most suited to their liking. There is plenty of room to walk if a person wishes, and the garden is even accessible to the two-mile walking trail around Intelliplex (tech park were garden and Benesse are located). Or, for the person who is unable to walk or who simply doesn’t wish to, a variety of seating options close to the entry and the Center is available. All of the water features were carefully considered for serenity and a calming effect as well as for pleasing sound. The garden is ADA accessible so that anyone can browse or sit. For patients who cannot go outside or who may not wish to, the garden is visible through floor-to-ceiling windows in the treatment bays of the Center, providing them with their own panoramic view. The garden’s overall aesthetic is one of beautiful color, unique texture, and spectacular detail that takes into consideration the special needs of cancer patients, their families, and their caregivers.
The garden was constructed not only for the benefit of patients, but for family members, care-givers, and members of the community. In addition to being enjoyable to look at, it is also pleasing to walk through it as well. The garden was designed to surpass ADA accessibility standards so that it would be accessible to those patients confined to hospital beds. The beds are able to be wheeled out along concrete pathways so that those patients may be able to gather their thoughts in the peaceful garden. Those visiting the garden are able to amble along the pathways leading from one of the many gardens to another, and find the surroundings that suit them and their needs the best, from the serene social environment of the Kiva pit, to the solemn, self-meditative area of the Labyrinth.
This garden features concrete as the base building material in making such an important area for the Oncology Center. Concrete was chosen for its long life span, easy maintenance, versatility, and beauty.