Harnessing the power of nature in healing

The rainforest-like landscaping at KTPH was highlighted for infusing the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents. The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were (from left) Phipps Centre for Sustainab
The rainforest-like landscaping at KTPH was highlighted for infusing the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents. PHOTO: KHOO TECK PUAT HOSPITAL
The rainforest-like landscaping at KTPH was highlighted for infusing the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents. The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were (from left) Phipps Centre for Sustainab
The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were (above) Phipps Centre for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, Etsy Headquarters in New York, Cookfox Architects Studio, also in New York, and Yanmar Headquarters in Osaka, Japan. The award honours Dr Kellert, who helped pioneer "biophilia", a theory about humans' affinity with the natural world. PHOTOS: ANNIE O'NEILL, GENSLER, COOKFOX ARCHITECTS STUDIO, YANMAR
The rainforest-like landscaping at KTPH was highlighted for infusing the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents. The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were (from left) Phipps Centre for Sustainab
The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were Phipps Centre for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, Etsy Headquarters in New York, Cookfox Architects Studio, also in New York, and Yanmar Headquarters in Osaka, Japan. The award honours Dr Kellert, who helped pioneer "biophilia", a theory about humans' affinity with the natural world.PHOTOS: ANNIE O'NEILL, GENSLER, COOKFOX ARCHITECTS STUDIO, YANMAR
The rainforest-like landscaping at KTPH was highlighted for infusing the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents. The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were (from left) Phipps Centre for Sustainab
The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were (from left) Phipps Centre for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, Etsy Headquarters in New York, Cookfox Architects Studio, also in New York, and Yanmar Headquarters in Osaka, Japan. The award honours Dr Kellert, who helped pioneer "biophilia", a theory about humans' affinity with the natural world.PHOTOS: ANNIE O'NEILL, GENSLER, COOKFOX ARCHITECTS STUDIO, YANMAR
The rainforest-like landscaping at KTPH was highlighted for infusing the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents. The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were (from left) Phipps Centre for Sustainab
The other four close contenders for the Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award were Phipps Centre for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, Etsy Headquarters in New York, Cookfox Architects Studio, also in New York, and Yanmar Headquarters in Osaka, Japan. The award honours Dr Kellert, who helped pioneer "biophilia", a theory about humans' affinity with the natural world.PHOTOS: ANNIE O'NEILL, GENSLER, COOKFOX ARCHITECTS STUDIO, YANMAR

KTPH bags design award for the way it blends nature into hospital's building

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's lush landscaping - it boasts a waterfall, gardens and ponds all within its grounds - has earned it the honour of being named one of the world's most "biophilic" buildings.

KTPH beat out a wide field of contenders to win the inaugural Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award - a prize that honours a Yale University academic who helped pioneer "biophilia", a theory about humans' affinity with the natural world.

The award - set up after Dr Kellert's death last year - was conferred on the hospital in Yishun by the International Living Future Institute ahead of 20 other entrants.

It said in its announcement yesterday: "Khoo Teck Puat surpasses traditional hospitals and opens the door towards a new kind of building type for the healthcare industry, which considers how the built and natural environment can become part of the healing process."

It said the hospital "used nature as a healing process" through paying close attention to all the human senses, noting that it is also a natural habitat for butterflies, birds and fish.

"The rainforest-like landscaping that weaves in and out of the hospital infuses the atmosphere with natural sights, sounds and scents."

Its design boasts such features as natural ventilation in patient rooms and the transformation of a storm water pond into a "lake feature".

KTPH is no stranger to design awards, with about 20 others under its belt, including the President's Award for the Environment, which it received last month.

Chief executive Chew Kwee Tiang said: "When we designed KTPH, we aspired to create 'a hospital in a garden and a garden in a hospital'."

She said that while the surrounding flora and fauna act as a healing oasis for patients, it also serves as a shared space for the community.

The other four close contenders for the award received honourable mentions. Three are from the United States.

One was The Phipps Centre for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, which was described as "a habitat for biodiversity and a nursery for the landscape".

The Etsy Headquarters in New York was singled out for "bringing nature inside and creating varied scale spaces that replicate nature's patterns", while Cookfox Architects Studio, also in New York, shone for "its direct and visual connections to nature and natural cycles".

The Yanmar Headquarters in Osaka, Japan, was also honoured. Its "glass-enclosed beehive in the centre of the building is an innovative focal point, a bold staircase is a biomimetic journey and a water feature is a unique approach towards a meditative and restful space for staff and visitors alike".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2017, with the headline 'Harnessing the power of nature in healing'. Print Edition | Subscribe