At a reception Wednesday night during the Greenbuild Expo in Boston, the International Living Future Institute announced the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore as the winner of its first ever Stephen Kellert Biophilic Design award. Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the Institute, presented the award to Ong Chin-Po—the project architect and senior vice president of CPG Consultants, which developed the design—and hospital director Wai Wing Tai.
Biophilia refers to the integration of nature and the built environment—an idea championed by the late Stephen Kellert, an influential researcher and professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The Living Future Institute’s new honor recognizes projects and designers that embrace the concept’s principles.
The Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, completed in 2009, features rainforest-like landscaping both inside and outside the building. “It was important to create a hospital within a garden and a garden within a hospital,” Chin-Po said at the reception. The project exposes patients and staff to animals such as butterflies, birds, dragonflies, and fish, as well as organic food; occupants are encouraged to use the surrounding gardens to grow their own vegetables. “Khoo Teck Puat surpasses traditional hospitals and opens the door towards a new kind of building type for the health-care industry, which considers how the built and natural environment can become part of the healing process,” said Sturgeon. In a statement, award juror Stephen Kieran of KieranTimberlake praised the project’s overwhelmingly positive post-occupancy evaluation, which sampled a group of 200 patients, staff, and visitors.
Four other projects were given honorable mention as exemplars of biophilia: the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, by the Design Alliance Architects; Etsy Headquarters in New York by Gensler; COOKFOX’s design for its own New York office; and the Yanmar Headquarters in Osaka, Japan.
Sturgeon also announced the launch of the Institute’s new Biophilic Design Initiative website and an accompanying biophilic design map. The map is an open source database including projects from around the world that incorporate the tenets of biophilia. The goal, according to Sturgeon, is to inspire architects to bring nature into their own projects. “We hope this can go viral,” said Sturgeon.