As the steel was rising on Massachusetts General Hospital’s new Yawkey Center, Halvorson was developing the winning entry for the Ulfelder Healing Garden as a complement to the Center. By successfully employing simple garden principles, the design acknowledges its context with void and openness juxtaposed with small contemplative spaces for private conversation.
The expedited design and construction process was accomplished by engaging two user groups—one small and one large—of doctors, nurses, chaplains and others to generate ideas and make decisions quickly.
Since opening, the Ulfelder Healing Garden has improved the lives of in- and outpatient visitors and their families as a respite from the hospital’s clinical environment. The garden’s looping path servers as an opportunity for “small victories” during recovery and the space considers chemotherapy’s effects on patient sensitivities to strong smells, bright colors, and light.