OUTDOOR HEDGES FOR NORTON HEALTHCARE
Published December 15, 2021
We were contacted to create a series of curved artificial hedges to fit the unique contours of this outdoor courtyard at a children's hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. We were delighted to see that the hedges were accounted for in the early design of the outdoor space, and a footprint had already been designated for the installation. We knew that we would be building hedges for a very precise radius, and that our product would need to fit perfectly on the first attempt in order to have a seamless project completed on-time.
We're no strangers to building outdoor artificial hedges. We build them year round, from waist-high hedges to 12-foot tall topiary walls made for privacy, but not every project requires precision fabrication like this one did. We wanted to create a smooth arc with no obvious flat faces, seams, or transitions, but still needed to build it in a modular way where individual parts could be loaded onto a truck, delivered, and reassembled on-site without creating any seams in the final piece.
The entire project hinged on our fabrication team, and our ability to plan our moves in a 3D environment prior to execution. Once drafted in CAD, the design was extruded into a model that revealed immediate complications that we worked quickly to troubleshoot. Our engineering team worked with fabrication and logistics to plot every inch of the steel frame, and created a modular hedge arc that could be moved one piece at a time. Connection points were called out during construction and permanently etched onto the piece itself, so that it would be clear to the client where and how the pieces would fit together.
VISUAL CONNECTION WITH NATURE
This exterior installation sits in a courtyard at a children's hospital, with very little visible from public line of sight or street view. The courtyard garden is visible from ground-level windows, and also from higher windows throughout the hospital, where it takes on a totally different design appeal. From higher up, the macro-gesture of the project is visible, where flowing circles and organic curves define precise geometry through the courtyard that isn't obvious while on the ground.
These hedges bring definition to the flow of foot traffic within the courtyard, but aren't tall enough to obstruct vision or wayfinding at the ground level. However, being a children's hospital, many of the users of this space with likely be children. While an average adult can see well over these hedges, they may entirely obscure the view of a small child, creating a completely different experience in prospect and mystery between generations.
Hospitals can be stressful environments, and that is doubly true for a children's hospital. The importance of refuge spaces can not be overstated in these environments where people are likely far from home and in need of comfort and quiet. These artificial hedges are accompanied by live flowers and other biophilic greenery, creating a space where everything feels fresh and well cared for - an important sentiment in this context.
The installation went perfectly. Our care and precision in fabrication paid off with a flawless hedge feature for the hospital courtyard, made with UV-resistant foliage to extend the life of the product to last for multiple years instead of seasons. Any concerns the client initially held about artificial foliage were put away immediately upon seeing the finished product, which looks entirely natural among the other live greenery planted throughout the courtyard.