Healthy Spaces: American Students to Design Therapy Park at Rovinj Hospital

Total Croatia News


Hospital patients and citizens of Rovinj might soon get a new therapy park, designed to benefit people’s health and well-being.

George Washington University in Seattle and the Hospital for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation ‘Prim Dr Martin Horvat’ in Rovinj are collaborating on an interesting project: a therapy hospital park that will be used both by patients and the citizens of Rovinj, reports Poslovni dnevnik on October 4, 2017.

The concept was created by students of George Washington University, mentored by the world-renowned landscape architect, professor Daniel Winterbottom, and his assistant, engineer Luka Jelušić. While they were coming up with a design, they had to accommodate requirements such as  transport of patients and vehicles, activities that are part of physical training and therapy, as well as conservators’ requirements, as the forest park that surrounds the hospital is a protected cultural monument.

“The goal is to get patients to leave their beds by providing them with a new multifunctional therapy park with a special ambiance, but also to get people who live in the city to come to nature, to take a walk, relax, and simply enjoy the scenery. It might also entice them to actively participate in outdoor physical activities. It’s been proven that expertly designed therapeutic gardens have numerous positive effects on the citizens, especially when it comes to speeding up the patients’ recovery process and creating a positive experience of hospitals as places where patients come because they want to, not only when they have to”, said hospital director Dr Marinko Rade MD. The park will have indoor and outdoor vertical gardens, and one of the innovations will be the option for the patients to actively participate in gardening during their stay.


“We wish to become an institution where new generations of health workers could learn about the new concepts of health institutions”, added Rade.

The students’ workshops resulted with multiple design concepts for the new hospital park; once when the final solution is agreed upon, its further development will see both American and Croatian students participating. Apart from the hospital, its founder and owner Istria County will invest in the park as well.

Professor Winterbottom teaches a class on Architecture and Urban Planning at the Department for Landscape Architecture at the George Washington University. He’s an expert in the field of landscape architecture and holds numerous professional and academic awards. Winterbottom created a programme  that has students collaborating with local communities, resulting in 35 projects carried out around the world. In Croatia alone, Winterbottom’s crew completed seven projects, including the following: a multifunctional therapy garden and a park for the visually impaired and physically disabled at the Student Dormitory Podmurvice in Rijeka, a therapy garden for patients suffering from dementia and an aromatherapy garden at the Psychiatric Hospital Rab, and the outdoor spaces for students at the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb. The therapy garden project in Rab was awarded by the American Association of Landscape Architects in 2016.


Translated from Poslovni dnevnik.


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