When Virtua Healthcare purchased 125 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the Pinelands National Reserve in New Jersey to construct a new hospital, they hired HGA to assist in siting of the building and basic programming needs, including exterior gardens and stormwater management. Recognizing this unique ecological context, the landscape architect created a comprehensive sustainable landscape plan that integrates the new hospital into its natural setting and transforms the site into an ecological preserve for pine barren plant communities. The landscape architect evaluated the site, inventoried existing plant communities and identified critical preservation areas to determine siting of the building and a planting palette. Landscape features include pine/ oak stands that serve as a buffer between the hospital
and surrounding residential community, vegetated roofs, constructed wetlands, and preserved groves linked to outdoor gathering spaces for employees, patients, and visitors. Between the site perimeter and the hospital, the landscape transitions from wilderness to formal gardens. These gardens are planted to create unique microecosystems that represent forest, meadow and wetland vegetation communities. The Virtua Voorhees Hospital represents the unique challenge of mitigating the effects of a large structure in a sensitive ecological environment. The landscape architect integrated programmatic requirements of the hospital with a thorough evaluation and restoration of the native landscape to create a landscape that honors the plant communities of the pine barrens and limits the impacts of development.
Summer 2013 | Issue #17