Urban green space can be a luxury, but at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, the rooftop gardens of the Mary Catherine Bunting Center are places for healing. The gardens are spread across three levels where, beginning at the eighth floor, bubbling fountains and shady trellises outside are accessible to all the building’s occupants. The second level (ninth floor) features private access from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to provide quiet respite for patients, families, and staff. And the third garden (10th floor) is inaccessible, but nonetheless viewable from the floor’s interior waiting area.
As an integral element of the building’s sustainable design strategy, the gardens minimize the heat-island effect, reduce demand on storm water systems, improve surrounding air quality, and reduce noise pollution. Each level steps back to effectively preserve views, but also creates a more accessible, human scale among the large surrounding structures. “As you look down on it, [the garden] is a larger, compositional gesture that relates to the urban scale,” says a juror.
Features include defined walkways, ample electric lighting, partitioned growth plots, and stone and concrete planters that double as seating and dividers.
Designer Mahan Rykiel Associates with the Whiting Turner Contracting Company
Client Mercy Medical Center