Spaces for Nature to Heal
World, Architecture and Design –
SHISHI-IWA HOUSE JAPAN, OUTDOOR CARE RETREATS NORWAY, NG TENG FONG GENERAL HOSPITAL SINGAPORE
BEING IMMERSED IN TRANQUIL greenery close to gentle streams, with the only sounds coming from birds and the rustling breeze, the human mind begins to relax, the physiology begins to heal
Shishi-Iwa House – Japan
Designer and architect: Shigeru Ban
Newly opened Shishi-Iwa House is a 10-room boutique resort in Karuizawa, Japan. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and developed by HDHP GK, a social enterprise sponsored by HDH Capital Management, Shishi-Iwa House is a restorative retreat that reinforces the relationship between nature, architecture and human connection.
Unique in its architecture, the two-storey retreat crafted in a smooth, curvilinear form with an undulating roof that flows with the movement of the forest. With the goal of conserving as many existing trees in the property as possible, Ban developed a new building approach that has never been used in hotel construction. Shishi-Iwa House is built to embrace the notion of social hospitality, and aims to be a place to reflect and restore energy, and in turn spark new ways of thinking for guests.
Encouraging both private and social experiences, the property showcases a seamless flow of spaces designed with unique humanistic qualities, where each guest room is a meditative retreat in itself. Guest rooms on the lower floor open out to a private garden, offering exclusive outdoor access while upper floor rooms incorporate a private balcony terrace – a unique feature of Shishi-Iwa House.
What is your concept and design narrative for Shishi-Iwa House?
Shigeru Ban: For this project, I was interested in developing a distinct design language befitting to its beautiful location. Everything from the construction to the furniture and interior detailing was carefully planned and considered to achieve a bespoke atmosphere.
The relationship between exterior and interior, nature and human is very strongly linked in Japanese architecture. How is this achieved in your design?
Shigeru Ban: Blending the interior and exterior spaces, we created unique openings in the guest rooms and social areas to allow best views of the garden and encourage outdoor access. Timber was our material of choice for the design, which is used to heighten the sense of warmth and coherence throughout the boutique retreat.
Outdoor Care Retreats – Norway
Designer and architect: Snøhetta
In the peaceful, green forests only a short walk away from two of Norway’s largest hospitals, Snøhetta has designed secluded wooden shelters aspiring to make hospitalisation, and physical and psychological respite easier for patients and their families.
Designed on behalf of the Friluftssykehuset Foundation, the Outdoor Care Retreat leans towards the lush forest and the trickling Sognsvann creek, only a 100 metres from Norway’s largest hospital, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet. Originally developed in collaboration with the Department of Psychosomatics and CL-Child Psychiatry at Oslo University Hospital, the Outdoor Care Retreat provides a peaceful space where visitors can benefit from the therapeutic qualities of nature.
The space can be used for treatment and contemplation, and for spending time with relatives and friends away from the stringent hospital corridors. The cabins are open to every patient connected to the hospitals regardless of disease group.
“Nature provides spontaneous joy and helps patients relax. Being in natural surroundings brings them a renewed calm that they can bring back with them into the hospital,” states children’s psychologist Maren Østvold Lindheim at the Oslo University Hospital, one of the initiators of the project.
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital – Singapore
Designer and architect: CPG Consultants in collaboration with HOK & studio505
The herringbone design concept of this healthcare hub allows every patient to have window to views of daylight and green spaces; this also lowers the chances of cross-infection while allowing generous spaces for clinical bedside care.
Controlled access to vegetation on terraces provides a therapeutic environment for healing. Oriented to reduce solar gain and capture prevailing breezes, the unique floor arrangement allows for double the amount of natural ventilation.
An oasis in a dense city, the design layout features sprawling parks, green roofs, jogging track and vertical plantings for patients and the community. The project won the AIA Committee on the Environment 2017 for sustainable excellence; and was shortlisted for a World Architecture Festival health category award in 2016.
Photograph credits: Shigeru Ban Shishi-Iwa House copyright Hiroyuki Hirai; Snøhetta Retreat copyright Ivar Kvaal; Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital courtesy of World Architecture Festival