Children’s National Medical Center Bunny Mellon Healing Garden

Dedicated to the First Ladies of the United States, the Bunny Mellon Healing Garden was designed by Perkins+Will to fulfill a pediatric patient’s wish to access the outdoors. Located on the third floor of the Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), the only exclusive provider of pediatric care in Washington, D.C., the 7,200-square-foot rooftop garden offers natural elements to improve the health of patients and provide a place of respite from the clinical environment.

Informed by hospital staff, clinicians, parents, and pediatric patients, Perkins+Will conceived a design for the garden that uses principles of biophilia and features an organic material palette. The garden, which overlooks the McMillan Reservoir, boasts panoramic views of the city’s monuments and offers walking paths with play-friendly surfaces, benches, regional plants and flowers, a fountain, and a maze.

Enhancing views from patient rooms, the landscape design creates a stylized graphic of a leaf, while an LED lighting scheme outlines the curves of the walls, benches, and fountain.

“For years, many of us here at Children’s National have dreamed about having a beautiful outdoor space for our patients and families to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of being outside,” says Kurt Newman, president and CEO of CNMC. “Our dream has finally come true, and our entire team is grateful to the many supporters who helped make this a reality.”