Nature’s design creates a benchmark in healthcare

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Whether it’s the serious nature of illness, the noise or the generally dismal interiors, hospitals are stressful places for patients, visitors and employees.  But thanks to scientific research into biophilia (which literally translates into ‘love of nature’) things are changing.

Regarded as one of the founding fathers of biophiliac research, Roger Ulrich, in 1981 discovered that views to natural areas, rather than blank walls, can accelerate patient recovery rates and reduce stress in hospitals (Treehugger).

Thirty years of research by Ulrich has influenced most hospitals and healthcare facilities to include interior gardens as well as more indoor plants (Treehugger).   One hospital has taken this research one step further and created, what can only be described as a hospital in a garden (or should that be a garden in a hospital?)

The Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) in the city / state of Singapore is setting new standards for incorporating nature into the design and layout of the health facility.  Tim Beatley in UVA Design describes it as “arguably the greenest, most biophiliac hospital in the world”.

In an interview with Tim Beatley posted on YouTube, Mr. Liat Teng Lit, CEO of KTPH, says that the building was designed to make patients blood pressure and heart rates go down, not up!  The 550-bed hospital was developed to bring ‘green’ inside and built around the concept of a community garden. 

The hospital is home to 35 different kinds of butterflies, 24 different types of birds and in the streams and water features within and surrounding the building you can find 192 different species of fish.

Having visited KTPH, Tim Beatley on UVA Design said: “There are plants and greenery everywhere, and many of the patients’ windows look down on a large green interior complete with waterfall and meandering stream complete with native fish. There are extensive gardens found on different levels throughout the facility, planter boxes in windows and along balconies, and even a large urban farm on one of the rooftops.”

Using the principles of biophilic design, and incorporating nature’s influence into the design of healthcare facilities has numerous positive benefits.  With this in mind, Interface’s Essence range has been designed using natural patterns and hues to create spaces that echo nature; helping hospitals become places of rejuvenation and healing rather than decline and sickness.


Sources:, Youtube


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