January 29, 2014 at 7:59am
M.D. Anderson has been a valued client of Landscape Art's for more than ten years. Over that time period, we've completed dozens of projects at the medical complex. Some of our most interesting and rewarding projects have been the installation of their rooftop gardens.
In case you're not familiar with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, it is one of the premier cancer research and treatment centers both in the nation and the world. As part of The University of Texas, they have a mission to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation, and the world through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research and prevention, and through education for undergraduate and graduate students, trainees, professionals, employees and the public. They are truly an outstanding organization that has made a huge difference in the lives of both cancer patients and their families.
As you can imagine, patients and families experience trying times while at the center. Creating a spaces where they can get some fresh air and a bit of relaxation was much needed. Our involvment included working on an outdoor plaza on the third floor of the building, as well as the rooftop garden on the eighth floor. The roof garden is a wonderful addition to the facility and has provided a scenic and calm space for patients as they manage their healing process. The garden includes trees, color plantings, a garden path and benches where patients and families can relax. The medical facility also uses this garden to complement therapies, hold support group meetings and also educational programs.
For the outdoor plaza on the third floor, we used a large crane to lift the super-sacs of soil and mulch needed for the planters. Because the eigth floor roof garden was so much higher up in the building, we were unable to use a crane for this project. That meant we had to manually cart all the soil, mulch, irrigation parts and plants through service elevators to the top. You can imagine how many trips that took! The results were very satisfying as patients and the families and friends are able to enjoy a little outdoor beauty during trying times.
There can be many challenges when building a rooftop garden and special consideration has to be given to issues like water management, wind, plant selection and general maintenance when planning the design. But the payoff can be well worth it, especially for a facility like M.D. Anderson. There are many benefits to adding rooftop gardens to city buildings. They can help reduce carbon dioxide levels and improve air quality, especially in the summer. The rooftop garden can also help control temperature in the building by absorbing heat from the building and replacing it with cooler air. Landscape plantings help reduce ambient temperature in urban environments and help catch rainwater. They also create habitat for wildlife. Research has shown that having plants and nature around you is good for your health and can aid the healing process.
While our work at M.D. Anderson and the Texas Medical Center is not as large or splashy as some of our other projects, it is always very satisfying. We're happy to know that our work there can help families and patients have a better experience.