OLIN has designed a series of unique “healing landscapes” for Duke University’s Medical Quadrangle, a landmark $700 million expansion of the institution’s medical campus. These spaces, which are currently under construction, were designed to help patients, families and staff find strength and healing through a natural environment that engages all senses.
OLIN advocated for the integration of green infrastructure practices to successfully realize and support the vibrant and self-sustaining therapeutic green spaces envisioned within the site. A major concern that OLIN sought to address through the use of green infrastructure is the reoccurring series of droughts that has affected North Carolina in recent years. Working in collaboration with local landscape architects and civil engineers Haden Stanziale, an 87,000 gallon rainwater cistern was installed. By collecting rainwater from the roofs of the new Cancer Center and the Quad’s core green space, the cistern provides irrigation and support the vitality of the landscape.
Working in concert with this innovative irrigation system, a series of rain gardens (planted areas which reduce rainwater run-off) interconnected by bio swales (design features that trap pollution and silt) support on-site storm water infiltration and improve run-off quality.
The Duke campus has a long and rich heritage of open space planning that includes the renowned Trumbauer and Olmsted Quad—a feature which the OLIN team was determined to respect and complement in the design of the Medical Quad. Thus, one of OLIN’s most important design goals has been to fully connect and integrate the expanded Medical Center with the rest of Duke University. As pictured in the above illustration, a pedestrian friendly plaza and treelined esplanade helps weave the new landscape into the existing fabric of the Duke University campus.