Eskenazi Health is working with some of America’s most prestigious design and architecture firms to create The Commonground at the Eskenazi Health campus. The firms – Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The OLIN Studio, and LAND COLLECTIVE – are collaborating to develop The Commonground as an outdoor green space built for the wellness and inspiration of patients and their families as well as cultural activities and community connection.

Eskenazi Health plans The Commonground to serve as a unique health- and community-focused place. The Commonground is an open-air outdoor plaza designed as a place accessible to and supportive of the health of the Indianapolis community. It aims to foster engagement and interaction among staff, visitors, patients, and physicians.

Aligning with the health system’s wellness-focused model of care, The Commonground will serve as a productive landscape built for the inspiration of patients and their families as well as cultural activities and community connectedness. The open-air outdoor plaza will feature a patient and visitor dining center, a lively garden community space, and an expansive overhead trellis covered year-round with an assortment of native vine species and productive plant life. DS+R, LAND COLLECTIVE, and OLIN hope The Commonground will be a deeply meaningful project for the larger arts, culture, and health care communities; the space attempts to explicitly link physical and mental wellness with our surroundings. The design strives for The Commonground to represent a new paradigm for outdoor green space that will become an integral part of health care facilities both domestically and internationally. It gives visibility to the productive landscape in a highly programmable, social context.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is a New York-based interdisciplinary design firm that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. DS+R’s work includes New York’s groundbreaking High Line project – a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s west side – and the redesign of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which involved redevelopment of the campus’s public spaces and incorporation of The Julliard School and Alice Tully Hall. DS+R’s work also includes the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro, and the in-progress Culture Shed in New York City, among other projects around the world. DS+R is the recipient of a number of top design awards, and the principals were the first recipients of the MacArthur “Genius” Prize in the field of architecture. DS+R is designing an outdoor permanent trellis installation at The Commonground that will be DS+R’s first work in the central United States.

The trellis installation comprises four distinct zones, each situated as an extension and response to its particular site orientation, and each allowing for unique programmatic and experiential modes. When taken together, the installation gives the visitor the opportunity to experience a series of varied, episodic spaces that serve to bring a diverse population together into a complex and inviting public space. At the nexus of Eskenazi Health and the IUPUI campus, circulation paths weave visitors together through alternately intimate and social spaces, performance and lounging areas, work and dining spaces. Incorporating Eskenazi Health’s desire to accommodate both its vast community outreach programs and a large event lawn that will entice both campus and hospital populations, the spaces invite intermingling through lightly defined and carefully curated vegetated filters, always changing and redefining with every visit.

The trellis employs a series of technical innovations that foster a symbiotic relationship between architecture, structure, and landscape. The architectural design, structural engineering, and plant species selection were all closely coordinated so that as the plants grow, they become a seamless component of the architecture. The project redefines the conventional understanding of enclosure by blurring the distinction between façade and landscape. The lightweight hybrid structural system, including elements ranging from single piece mega-size masts to micro-size cables and rods, is specifically designed to produce extended column-free spans of 70 feet while providing a trellis to facilitate plant growth and creating an illusion of weightlessness. As the plants grow and change throughout the seasons, the installation will become a dynamic structure that constantly transforms throughout the year.

LAND COLLECTIVE, a landscape architecture and urban design studio, was founded by David Rubin, a former equity partner at OLIN. Rubin is the 2011-12 recipient of the Garden Club of America Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture from the American Academy in Rome. He has received the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Design, and the projects he has undertaken have received awards and honors from the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, among others. His works include the design of Potomac Park Levee on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; Canal Park in Washington, D.C.; the award-winning Lenfest Plaza in Philadelphia for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; and the California Memorial Stadium Plaza at the University of California, Berkeley.

OLIN is a landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm with studios in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, known for creating iconic and vibrant landscapes. The firm’s honors include the 2008 Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt national Design Award for Landscape Design and the American Society of Landscape Architects Landscape Architecture Firm Award. Its work includes Bryant Park in New York City, named one of America’s Great Places by the American Planning Association, as well as the Olympic Village in Barcelona, Spain; the Getty Center at the Getty Museum of Art in Santa Monica, Ca.; and Independence Park in Philadelphia.

We are deeply grateful to this extraordinary design team for their vision and for partnering with us to create this special public space,” said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and chief executive officer of Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County. “The Commonground will create a sense of place at Eskenazi Health. It is a patient- and community-focused area incorporating beautiful design with sustainability and healthy activities. The positive effect it will have for our patients and our community is matched by the great generosity of the space’s philanthropic supporters, as well as the designers. Their support enables us to do this in a way that fits within the framework of the overall project cost and ensures our progress toward on-time, on-budget completion.

DS+R, OLIN, and LAND COLLECTIVE worked with Eskenazi Health to stay within the project’s budget for the space, and design has been completed. The construction cost is fully supported by philanthropy, including gifts from Frank and Katrina Basile, the Griffith Family Foundation, the Central Indiana Community Foundation and St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild.

The incredible effect this hospital and health system will have on central Indiana was something we absolutely leapt at,” said Elizabeth Diller, a founding principal of DS+R. “The Commonground offers an opportunity to create a unique place of profound impact for the community. It is accessible to all, not just for the most advantaged and those with the means to visit spaces like Lincoln Center. The Commonground is a place for people from all walks of life and those for whom the experience of art and beauty may be rare.

This work represents a truly unique development in health care and community design fostering a productive landscape in the public realm – one in which pedagogy and social purpose are integrally woven together,” said David Rubin, a former partner at OLIN and founder of the studio, LAND COLLECTIVE, whose work on The Commonground extends across both firms. It is Rubin’s vision that has guided The Commonground’s design and that of the Eskenazi Health extended campus since its inception. “The Commonground at Eskenazi Health models a philosophy that landscape is a democratic environment in which everyone has an opportunity to participate. It is designed to support the ethos of Eskenazi and the diverse population of the city it serves in a physically and philosophically meaningful way.

The artistry of the pavilion’s design will form the primary entryway to the east and southeast sides of the Eskenazi Health campus and will welcome visitors and patients to the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, Fifth Third Bank Building and Eskenazi Health Outpatient Care Center.

As with every facet of the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus, this extraordinary pavilion is focused on the health and wellness of our patients and our community,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer of Eskenazi Health. “The trellis will feature natural elements that support health and healing through both the aesthetic and nutritional properties of the plant life. Meanwhile the space is designed to foster engagement, connection and interaction among our staff, visitors, patients and physicians, all of which aligns with our wellness-focused model of care.

The new Eskenazi Health campus opened on December 7, 2013.

We would like to see Indianapolis and Central Indiana be the best community in America at creating access to art, nature and beauty every day for everybody, and Eskenazi Health is creating a facility that provides that, bringing people together in a way that will feed the mind, body and spirit,” said Brian Payne, president of Central Indiana Community Foundation.

We are deeply thankful to Frank and Katrina Basile, the Griffith Family Foundation, the Central Indiana Community Foundation and St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild for their invaluable support for this element of the new Eskenazi Health campus that will celebrate the rich diversity of our community, enjoining patients, families, physicians, nurses and staff, medical students and the broader community in a singular place in Indianapolis,” said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and chief executive officer of Eskenazi Health Foundation.

It’s a privilege for Katrina and me to be able to support our community with this gift of place, which will elicit an incredible sense of togetherness and foster a shared spirit of health, wellness and community,” said Frank Basile.

CONTACT: Michelle O’Keefe
Phone: 317.880.4782
Pager: 317.310.5972

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