MGH Healing Garden at Yawkey Cancer Center

Healing Garden + Green Roof | Boston, Massachusetts

As the steel was rising on Massachusetts General Hospital’s new Yawkey Center, Halvorson Design was developing the winning entry for the Ulfelder Healing Garden as a complement to the Center. By successfully employing simple garden principles, the design acknowledges its context using void and openness juxtaposed with small contemplative spaces for private conversation. 

The expedited design and construction process was accomplished by engaging two user groups—one small and one large—of doctors, nurses, chaplains and others to generate ideas and make decisions quickly. The Healing Garden has improved the lives of in- and outpatient visitors and their families as a respite from the hospital’s clinical environment. 

The garden’s looping path serves as an opportunity for “small victories” during recovery, and the space considers chemotherapy’s effects on patient sensitivities to strong smells, bright colors and light.


2008 Honorable Mention | Green Design Innovation Award,
U.S. Green Building Council (Massachusetts Affiliate)

2006 Honor Award,
Boston Society of Landscape Architects

2006 Honor Award,
Boston Society of Architects

July 2008, "Holistic Oncology: A Healing Garden Guestbook" by S. Belden, et al.  
The Oncologist

2008, "Nature and Healing" in R. Guenther & G. Vittori
Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Wiley & Sons



6,800 sq ft



Robert Adams ASLA



Partners HealthCare

Cambridge Seven Associates



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