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The Stoneman Healing Garden

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Yawkey Center for Cancer Care | Boston, MA

We worked closely with the project architects and the Healing Garden Working Group to develop designs for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Yawkey Cancer Care Center’s Thea and James Stoneman Healing Garden. The garden occupies 2,000 SF of indoor space within the new 500,000 SF outpatient treatment, research and parking facility which opened in February 2011. The purpose of the garden, as envisioned by the Working Group, was “to create an area of quiet respite in a natural environment for patients, families and staff, with adequate space for reflection and healing amid nature’s beauty.”

The interior garden space highlights DFCI’s new front door on Brookline Avenue and Jimmy Fund Way in an 18’-high glass-walled corner spanning the third and fourth floors. Key components of the design include easy and safe access for patients, families and staff; a variety of flexible, small seating spaces for contemplation and conversation; a simple and non-toxic plant palette of bamboo, lily turf with frequent rotations of colorful flowers; contained individual planters with sterile soil mix and self-watering irrigation systems; and a separate glass-walled Conservatory for immuno-suppressed patients who cannot enter the garden itself.

The Healing Garden Working Group (led by two patients and comprising hospital administrators, safety and infection control specialists, research management, the Arts and Environment Committee, pediatric and adult nurses, patient and family advocates, architects and landscape architects) played a key role in the design process, helping to ensure that the garden would provide the desired physical and psychological benefits for its users, as well as a healthy and maintainable environment. The final design, construction and maintenance were made possible with a generous donation from Thea and James Stoneman.

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Dana Farber Cancer Institute

2,000 sq ft

2012 Boston Society of Architects Honor Award for Healthcare Facilities for Yawkey Center for Cancer Care with ZGF Architects in association with Miller Dyer Spears

New England Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America, 2011 Building Project of the Year Award (for New Construction greater than $200m), Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Yawkey Center for Cancer Care with ZGF Architects

Business Line

US Northeast

Cathy Offenberg, Principal