Enter Your Design for Health and Wellness in the Future of Shade Competition

The Future of Shade Competition is now open, and with the introduction of three categories for the third edition, we’re excited about the opportunity to explore each category in more detail. We’ve previously looked at inspiration for the Humanitarian category; now we bring you a closer look at the Wellness Garden category.

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For the third year running, Architizer is excited to partner with Sunbrella for the Future of Shade Competition to design beautiful spaces using fabric. With the growing interest and increasingly diverse range of entries in the past two editions of the annual competition, this year sees its expansion to three distinct categories — Humanitarian, Wellness Garden, and Building Shade — and three grand prize winners. Whether you’re an architect or a designer, a professional or a student, enter now for a chance to win one of the three $10,000 grand prizes — we’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

The Future of Shade Competition is now open, and with the introduction of three categories for the third edition, we’re excited about the opportunity to explore each category in more detail. We’ve previously looked at inspiration for the Humanitarian category; now we bring you a closer look at the Wellness Garden category.

The Wellness Garden category includes outdoor settings that promote wellness and healing. This could include a public space, a private garden, part of a healthcare campus, or anything in between — in short, any outdoor space that is designed to improve users’ overall well-being. This isn’t necessarily a building, though it might be attached to a hospital, nursing home, or rehab facility and may be intended either for recreation or relaxation.

The genre presents a major opportunity for landscape architects to contribute to global trends for people who want to live more healthy lifestyles. Even as people look for opportunities to spend time outside, they also require places that are protected from the sun but are not indoors. Similarly, outdoor exercise areas serve not only as public fitness centers, but as community spaces that foster a culture all their own, especially in temperate climates.


Image courtesy Foster and Partners

For example, new methods of healing and treatment often incorporate outdoors for recovery from illness or even addiction. Maggie’s Centres offer support and dedicated recovery facilities for cancer patients and their families. Architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Thomas Heatherwick have been commissioned to design recovery wards for the foundation. Foster and Partner’s scheme is organized around a central circulation route and will be constructed of natural materials like wood to create a welcoming atmosphere. The covered mezzanines serve as a series of shaded gardens.


Palomar Medical Center. Image via AIA

In keeping with the trend, the AIA’s Academy of Architecture for Health recently recognized the Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Calif., by CO Architects with a National Healthcare Design Award. A 35-acre campus that includes a 360-bed acute-care hospital, the Palomar incorporates garden spaces at every level of the 11-story nursing tower and a green roof that extends the landscape and improves views. These buildings that integrate landscaped therapeutic gardens into the building plan essentially blur the lines between inside and outside, making them fertile ground for architects, landscape architects, and shading designers.

With wellness trends focused on the outdoors, architects are also increasingly tasked with designing architecture without creating an actual building. Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, Calif., is thought to be the birthplace of the outdoor fitness movement. In the 1930s, fitness enthusiasts started to gather in the playground south of Santa Monica Pier, eventually getting the city to recognize their activities. Today, it is a gymnastics and training area, while most of the weight training activity takes place at Muscle Beach Venice, right off the boardwalk, where celebrity bodybuilders including Arnold Schwarzenegger have trained. They even shot an episode of “Baywatch” there. The architecture of the place is derived from the imagery of weightlifting and, as one of the liveliest public spaces in the United States, it would be an ideal place to propose some kind of partial shading element.

Since 1961, Sunbrella has produced textiles that offer legendary durability, fade-resistance, and ease of cleaning. But even as they develop new high-performance materials for both indoor and outdoor applications, it is up to designers to put these performance products to use, and humanitarian design may well be one place where it is needed most.

To learn more about the Sunbrella Future of Shade competition and enter for a chance to win $10,000, please see the competition page. See all the winners from 2014 at www.futureofshade.com.

© Nico van der Meulen Architects

House Sar // Nico van der Meulen Architects

Atholl, Sandton, South Africa

© ORE Design + Technology

Riverpark Farm // ORE Design + Technology

New York, NY, United States

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